The Gathering Place

Today for some reason I am thinking of the beauty and blessing of the Dinner Table.  Maybe it’s because several days lately I ate a cold salad by myself in my vehicle in between running errands and arriving at work.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind eating alone.  In fact, being alone, and even eating alone, is something I enjoy.  But the older I get, the more I value coming together with family, community, friends, at the table.

The Table is a gathering place.  A place to connect, feel accepted, be nourished.

The nourishing of a good table goes beyond delicious food, and extends to the nourishments of soul and spirit along with food.  And it is priceless.

So what can we do to create a good Gathering Place…..a place where family and friends feel loved, accepted, nourished?  There seem to be a variety of factors that contribute to a truly nourishing gathering around the dinner table, a place where hearts are blessed, bodies refreshed, and spirits rested.  A few things I’ve observed as I’ve been blessed to be part of hundreds of excellent, joyous meal times all around the US, Canada, and Mexico:

  • The atmosphere is warm.  There is acceptance + love.  It is a place to relax, to be yourself, to feel “at home”.

  • The food can be simple or lavish, served on paper or china, but it is thoughtful, and served with love.

  • Enriching words, healing laughter, and (sometimes heated:) discussion flows.  It’s not always all peace and calm, at least not at my family’s table. But it is sharing.  It is community.

And now I would love to hear from you!  What special touches do you enjoy adding to the Table?  In your mind, what makes a mealtime special and refreshing?

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Golden Wheat Bread Recipe

As requested on our family instagram, here is the recipe for Golden Whole Wheat Bread I made the other day:

2 cups very warm water (warm enough so that you can just hold you finger under the water as it runs- if it was any hotter it would be too hot)

3 TBS yeast

3 tsp. sugar

3 cups scalded milk

1/2 cup honey or sugar

1/3 cup molasses

1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil)

2 TBS salt

6 cups whole wheat flour

6-7 cups white flour

Stir together the water, 3 tsp. sugar, and yeast.  Let set ten minutes.  In a large bowl (or mixer), combine the oil, scalded milk, honey, molasses, and salt.  Add the yeast/water/sugar mixture and wheat flour.  Mix some more.  Now comes the fun part!  Add several cups of white flour and continue mixing and adding flour.  I use my (clean!) hands to knead the dough.  When it becomes less sticky and starts balling together instead of adhering to your hands and the bowl, you’ve probably added enough flour.  I never measure exactly, but add until the consistency is right.  Knead a few minutes more.

Make sure your bowl is big enough, cause now you need to put a towel on top, set it in a large place, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hr.

Divide the dough into loves and put into greased pans.  I like to make three generous loaves in bread pans, and one small round free-standing loaf.  Turn the oven on to 350 and let the loaves rise until much larger, about half an hour.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until done.  When done, the loaves should be golden, and sound hollow when tapped.

Immediately remove from the pans and allow to cool a few minutes.  Our favorite way to eat the bread is fresh, with butter and honey!  It also makes delicious toast, sandwiches, and croutons.  Enjoy!

Have a wonderful week, friends!  Be watching for my first post on fitness, coming later this week.  I am excited to delve into a topic that I am very passionate about.  If you have any specific fitness-related questions or things you would like me to write about, feel free to drop me a line through my “Contact” page.

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