I have this friend who writes a blog called The Food Yenta.

Meredith is mainly a virtual friend, though that doesn’t mean I’m any less crazy about her. I did get to meet her and one of my other favorite bloggers, Sheri of Donuts, Dresses and Dirt, when I was in New York City over the summer. But the rendezvous was all too brief.

Meredith writes in a cozy kind of way. Telling a story about food as she’s introducing a recipe. Or talking about an ingredient. And her recipes are not over the top. I mean, I am not intimidated by them. Which is good because I’m not a confident cook.

And because she has two young kids, a lot of the recipes are foods that kids will eat. Mine are older but two of their favorite recipes, and mine, are from her site.

You can’t see the noodles but they’re in there

You can’t see the noodles but they’re in there

Her Curried Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup is out of this world. With ginger, curry powder, coconut milk and a half a dozen other ingredients, this will warm anybody’s heart. Even if they’re a cold hearted bitch. Like me. Well, I’m not really but I’ve been called one before. By a jilted ex-boyfriend.

But that’s another story.

Hello yummy spices that I love so much

Hello yummy spices that I love so much

And her Moroccan Spice Rub Chicken is amazing. There are a dozen spices in the rub and just the smell of them all thrown together in a jar is enough to make me smile. Add to that garlic, tomatoes, ginger and raisins (go with me here because they work) and you have a one dish meal that is even better the next day.

So when Meredith wrote about baking bread the other day, using a bread machine, my interest was piqued. My kids, especially my daughter, love bread. Fresh bread from our local grocery bakery. But being able to replicate that at home, and get that bread baking smell going through the house, sounded heavenly. And the best part was how easy she made it seem.

I wasn’t ready to go out and invest in a bread machine, so I borrowed one from my friend. And set out to buy the ingredients necessary to bake the honey white bread on Meri’s blog. The vital wheat gluten was the only ingredient I had a bit of a hard time finding but a call to my local Whole Foods proved successful.

First attempt right out of the machine

First attempt right out of the machine

One day last week, I timed it so that the bread smell would be wafting through the house when the kids came home from school. And they were so excited when they walked in the door. (And it’s not easy to excite two teenagers after a long day of school.)

First loaf cut insta

First attempt, sliced up

And they tore through half of the loaf in less than the amount of time it would have taken me to say “Rumpelstiltskin”.

But after reading a book of bread machine recipes that my friend had loaned me with the machine, I realized that I may have inadvertently allowed the yeast to touch some of the wet ingredients before it was supposed to. So I decided to give it another try.

Second attempt. The yeast did not get wet too soon.

Second attempt. The yeast did not get wet too soon.

The second loaf was noticeably different. Larger even though the amount of ingredients stayed the same. And fluffier inside.

Today I decided to go out on my own and bake a loaf of French honey bread. It just came out of the machine. The kids aren’t home. And I’m afraid that my husband and I are going to eat the whole thing by ourselves.

French honey bread

French honey bread

Oh, well. I can always make more tomorrow!

And I can’t wait to see what the Food Yenta is going to have me making next.