When I was in college, I lived on a very tight budget. I had very little spending money, and because I commuted 20 minutes every day to the university, what little I did have was usually spent on gas or parking fees. My classes were scattered throughout the day, and since I was in the city for so long, I almost always brought a sack lunch, except for one Friday each month. On this day, I would splurge on a Veggie Deluxe sandwich from The Cottage Bakery.
At the time, this was an extravagance for me, but I truly loved this sandwich. It was comprised of layers of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green pepper, red onion, sprouts, sunflower seeds, pepper jack cheese, dill spread, and the most delicious herb bread. This bread was amazing. It alone was worth the expense.
This week, I needed a change from my usual honey wheat bread, and I decided to attempt an herb bread. I basically just modified a basic white bread recipe to include some dried herbs, and the result was wonderful! The smell that filled the house as the bread baked was just heavenly, and my husband ate 3 slices as soon as it came out of the oven!
For the last several months, I’ve been making a concerted effort to cook as much as possible (this was kick-started by my Family Table Challenge, back in July), and we’ve seen a real, positive change in our finances. We charge everything we possibly can to our Discover Card (I mean everything – groceries, gas, medical bills, some household bills, insurance payments, etc. We pay the bill in full every month) because we earn cash back, and last month our bill was only $437 – the lowest it’s been in six years!
Small triumphs, such as perfecting thin, crispy pizza crust, or making the moistest, richest scratch brownies, or turning out a bakery-quality loaf of bread, are what motivate me to keep cooking at home. Recently, I successfully made my own sandwich rolls, and I was so proud of myself! Home-cooked food is healthier, cheaper, and most often, better. For example, on our anniversary we ordered pizza margherita at a restaurant, and we both agreed that my homemade version is better. Not to mention that the restaurant version costs three times as much.
So, for lunch today? Veggie deluxe, here I come! Of course, this bread would make an awesome ham and cheese, or cream cheese and olive, or tomato, mozzarella, and basil, or any savory sandwich you like.
Heather’s Bread Machine Herb Bread
7/8 cup + 1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon each dried dill, dried basil, and dried rosemary
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Put all ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order given, and set it for a 1.5 pound loaf. If you intend to bake the bread in the machine, use the medium crust setting and the rapid bake cycle. If, like me, you prefer to bake your bread in the oven, use the dough cycle. When complete, transfer the dough to a greased loaf pan, cover, and let rise until doubled (about 30-45 minutes). Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.