September 15th HBinFive Bread Braid

Maple Syrup and oats are two of my favorite foods. The combination here in our assignment for 100% Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Bread did not disappoint.

Husband loved this bread so much he sent me an e-mail one day from work telling me how he was eating some right there and then, and how great it was.

I did leave the raw sugar off the top, as I imagined it would be sweet enough. I was right-on with that choice, at least for my taste.

I am a big fan of Grade B. Thick, dark, and so flavorful. The best maple syrup I have ever had is a Grade B Vermont maple syrup purchased from a food co-op in Middlebury, Vermont. Our friends who had a house there told us about it. The co-op filled up mason jars for purchase.

I did use Grade B organic Vermont maple syrup here, purchased from our co-op, but it didn't come with the same memories of staying in our friends' farm-house amongst apple orchards, views of Lake Champlain, and the news that I was expecting our first child.

The next time I use maple syrup, however, I now have a big bottle of a local one. It is Grade A, but it allows me the romantic vision of living in an area that can provide me with one of my favorite flavors.

It also endears me further to our two, old, huge sugar maples. One is in our front yard, and it has become my friend and protector since living here. It shades our front porch, and its branches are right outside A.'s front bedroom window.

When I help him do his exercises, I look out that window, and I tell him about the birds on the branches, in Spring how the leaves pop out suddenly one day, and in Winter, how beautifully the snow rests on the limbs.

In another month or so, we'll be raking up piles and piles of its leaves. On one side of it's trunk, there is a bare area where there is no bark. The tree experts believe lightening must have struck it at some point. Maybe this makes me feel closer to our tree that continues to shelter us, despite its scars. Would it and its friend on the side of the house give us sap for syrup? I don't think we'll try, but it's fun to think about.

The other recipe for this assignment, Quinoa Bread, has made a good sandwich loaf. I have to admit, I was skeptical after I made my dough. It seemed dry compared to all the other HBinFive dough's.

Quinoa reminds me of our vegetarian days. I haven't cooked with it in a long time. It's good to return to things sometimes, particularly knowing of Quinoa's ancient past.