Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Best Bread Recipe

Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Bread

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NKJV

I think homemade bread is one of those special things we can hang on to that keeps us connected to the past and makes the present a little less stressful.

I suggest this bread as a tasty accompaniment to the Word of God.


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 cups wheat flour
  • 5 cups white flour
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 6 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2/3 cup dry milk

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and proof. Add ginger and sugar. Mix together 4 cups warm water, molasses, brown sugar, butter, salt and dry milk. Add yeast mixture to this. Then add flours alternately one cup at a time until stiff dough is formed. Knead 15 minutes. Let rise until doubled.

Put into 4 loaf pans and let rise again until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Reproduced by permission. A Taste of the Taber: Classic Maine Coastal Cooking by Ellen Barnes, copyright 1990.

Ellen Barnes was kind enough to give me permission to reprint her recipe. Click on this link to see Capt. Ellen in action cooking.

And on this link to see Capts. Ken and Ellen Barnes on their historic sailing vessel, the Stephen Taber. We sailed with them twice, an unforgettable experience.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made this bread. I cut the recipe in half since eleven cups of flour would cause my mixer to go crazy. And I play with the spice. I’ve doubled the ginger, substituted cardamon, and I might try anise and allspice. If you do cut the recipe down, remember to cut ALL the ingredients. The first time, I forgot to cut the water in half. I couldn’t figure out why it was taking so much flour to stiffen up.

Baking bread is therapeutic for me. I use my mixer with a dough hook to mix and knead it. But I’ve got to get my hands on the dough, so I finish kneading by hand. I don’t know if the bread likes it, but I do. Kneading bread dough just feels good. Maybe it touches those genetic wires of my Finnish grandmother and great-grandmother, baking bread for the family.

Baking bread is creative. Once you get a little experience, knowing what the various flours and ingredients will do, you can experiment—creating bread that’s uniquely yours. My brother-in-law coached me. I made “Gary’s Bread” many times with “herbs of choice.”

I have a friend who said she’s never made a yeast bread. I suppose it’s possible to never have that experience in life—seems a shame. Maybe bread making is intimidating, maybe it’s too time-comsuming, maybe you don’t like the thought of bothering when you can buy artisan bread.

But, for me, there’s nothing like the smell of bread baking in my own kitchen—except the taste of fresh baked bread slathered in butter.

Cristine Eastin © 2013

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Writing Contest Results

The five-month wait is over. I now have my score and critique in hand—the results of having entered my first writing contest. It’s been quite an experience so far. If you’re an aspiring writer, I highly recommend putting your work out there for judgement. Sounds ominous, but it’s a great way to improve in our craft.

I entered Operation First Novel, a contest sponsored by the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. In the cover letter accompanying my critique, Jerry Jenkins encouraged entrants. He reminded us that many writers never get this far, actually completing a manuscript, and he spurred us to “press on”, (Philippians 3:12).

Having read that, holding my breath, I turned to my score and critique. I had mistakenly thought the score was based on 100 points, so you can guess my reaction when I saw my score that was actually based on 70 points. A 30 point difference in expectation caused a moment of angst before I caught my error.

Overall, I didn’t do too badly. I’ve participated in countless auditions and contests, so this is a familiar place—though I’ve never had to wait five months for results! (I’m of the school of thought some days that says instant gratification isn’t fast enough.)

My judge wrote helpful comments and suggestions for each of the seven criteria. The judge also had plenty of positive feedback which confirmed that I’m on the right track. I don’t know where the track’s going yet, but it’s the right one to be on.

So, with critique in hand, I’ve started the revision process—the fourth pass through. The judge suggested a resource book on revision: The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman. Writers, trust me, you need this book.

I feel good, even a little exhilarated. I’m the Little Engine That Could. I’m pressing on. Revision. Agent hunt…

When I feel discouraged, thinking I started this writing game too late, I remember what an 80-something friend said, “but you wouldn’t have had the maturity to write then like you do now.”

Press on to take hold of the prize. Win the race!

Be blessed to be a blessing.

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Review, “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake”, by Anna Quindlen

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Part review, part discourse on the topic at hand, here’s what I thought of Anna Quindlen’s bestseller.

Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of nonfiction, but “Lots of Candles…” is worth a read. Quindlen writes with candor about the experience of growing up and growing old(er) as a Baby Boomer woman.

A confused generation of women—we Boomers were raised by mostly traditional mothers and fathers, then thrown into the Women’s Liberation Movement, coped with marriage to men raised by traditional parents, slammed into motherhood and careers, crashed against the aging and deaths of our parents, and now have come to rest in our sixties. It’s been exciting to be part of an era of such change, but exhausting.

What Quindlen misses, and this is a good thing for her, is the phenomenon of serial marriages to which our generation has fallen prey. Married to the same good man for decades, she views the cultural mess of marriages from a distance and can only write about it journalistically. We’ve perpetrated serial attachment figures on our children to the point they no longer trust relationships. Worse yet, another consequence is that, as parents, our children are afraid to set boundaries with their children, to say “no”, for fear the kids won’t love them. Shame on us Boomers. (If this doesn’t apply to you—well done!)

A Pulitzer Prize winner, Quindlen’s an exceptional writer, though I got annoyed with the 75¢-New York Times-words. I wrote a doctoral dissertation, so I can use big words, but I don’t like reading with a dictionary to hand or guessing at the nuance of a sentence more than once a chapter.

Quindlen’s memoir is a glimpse into the life of a woman who has so far navigated the Boomer experience pretty well. She’s one of the pioneers of our era. As I watched an episode of BBC’s “George Gently” in which child sexual abuse in the 60s is depicted correctly as the crime that never existed, I’m grateful for the movers and shakers like Quindlen.

But…Quindlen extolls the era as one of choice for women. True. However, some of the choices we made were really stupid—short-sighted and self-centered—free love wasn’t free at all. We’re still counting the cost.

It was hard growing up a Boomer woman—exciting, but hard. A lot of what shaped me was in reaction to anger and resentment. Seems like I vacillated between outraged “Why not?” and passive acceptance. I remember a cartoon with two toddlers, a boy and a girl, looking down the front of their own diapers—”Oh THAT’S the difference in our salaries!” Not funny. Still isn’t. My boomer friends and I were often at war with our expectations and our desires.

So, are we now Invisible Women? Yes, I think we are—certainly we’re invisible to younger men, (that’s creepy anyway)—but also in the workplace. Age discrimination hasn’t changed one bit. In these economic times it’s tough when many older women find themselves in need of a job.

Too often we’re invisible in our marriages as the shared guilt of taking each other for granted sets in after years together.

Some of us seem invisible because we’ve just quieted down—either worn out or finally content. The next generation is making the noise now, the noise of entitlement as they scrabble toward their dreams. They too deserve their day.

Quindlen strikes a chord in us—”Never give up!” said the frog, its hands around the heron’s throat.

To that end, never giving up, I’ve created a Facebook Page you might be interested in if any of this resonates with you—”Full Pitcher Christian Women…because you can’t pour from an empty pitcher.”

Quindlen says she wants more. Me too!

Cristine Eastin © 2013

Categories: Psychology, Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

2013, A New Year

Screen shot 2013-01-01 at 11.03.31 AMIt’s a new year. All the holiday hype is over, and we can settle down and get on with it. If I hear one more bit about shopping I think I’m going to scream—CHRIST-mas! Seems like we have to dig through quite a discarded pile of wrapping paper to find Christ in Christmas anymore. But that’s another soapbox for another time.

2013 is new for me. I’ve taken a leap off the social media cliff and started a Facebook Page. The few times I was brave enough to jump off the high board at the pool I had to remember to hold my nose or get a snootful. So here goes.

Full Pitcher Christian Women—that’s my Facebook Page. If you click on the link in the top right widget, you’ll zoom right to it.

Why? Countless times I’ve told my women psychotherapy clients, “because you can’t pour from an empty pitcher“. Women especially are prone to pour, pour, pour until they’re drained, then pour some more.

Join me. Let’s drink from the well the Lord has for us—and refill.

Cristine Eastin © 2013
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