Early Monday morning I fly back to the mountains and I must admit that I’m ready to be back home.  It’s been good down here, warming up on the Gulf coast and being with my mom, but I miss my bed, my pantry, and swimming.  Two weeks of little to no exercise and eating way too much food makes a not-so-fit and not-so-happy me.  Getting back into my routine will be oh-so-wonderful!

But we’ve been having fun–including my first motorcycle ride last Sunday. That’s me and my mom hamming it up for the camera. Her fiance has been outfitting her in leather and Harley jackets and other paraphernalia, and it’s pretty funny to watch, given that she’s never been a motorcycle type person ever in her life. And surprisingly, I even had fun.

Oh, and we checked out the infamous double decker mobile home–it’s for sale, any takers?

And for a few days we went to Cheaha State Park up in the mountains in Alabama–yup, Alabama has mountains, I totally forgot about that–and I drove down to Birmingham to check out Jones Valley Urban Farm. Located in the northern section of Birmingham, the farm is pretty cool: 3 acres of mixed farm production and community garden plots, a large number of educational programs with over 70 kids visiting the farm daily during school, and a place with a huge impact–tons of community gardens have developed as a result of the farm. Oh, and a 10 month growing season (if not year-round)–holy cow, awesome! The farm is a really inspiring place and I highly recommend anyone checking it out who is in the area.

But in food-related news, how about some carbs? I know, I know, it’s January and we’re all feeling a little over-fed. Bread might not be on the to-make list, and these aren’t revolutionary, they’re just Celine’s Sauerkraut Rye Bread that I made last February. But a newish bread recipe is always a good thing, right? By substituting the buckwheat for rye, the rolls have a bit less of a bite, but are delightfully dense. Not dense in a bad way, but dense in a toothsome crumb kind of way. The sauerkraut lends a moistening element to the rolls without being overpowering–in fact, no one noticed that there was anything “different” in the rolls. And I certainly didn’t tell the kids what the mystery ingredient was. If formed into a loaf, I’d bet that the bread would make a perfect sandwich base–maybe for fakeloaf sandwiches? Rolls or bread loaves, the bread was a perfect accompaniment to a potluck meal, and while not gluten-free, they’d satisfy any vegan or omnivore.

Buckwheat Sauerkraut Rolls

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 c warm water
1 c well-drained sauerkraut
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp vegan margarine, melted
2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp sea salt
1 c buckwheat flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c bread flour

Proof the yeast in the water for 10 minutes or so, until the yeast becomes bubbly and foamy.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauerkraut, molasses, suger, and salt. Mix in the proofed yeast.

Add the buckwheat flour and whole wheat flour and mix with a spoon until a dough forms. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead in the remaining bread flour. You will need to knead for 5-10 minutes. (If using an electric mixer, knead for 5-7 with the dough hook until a smooth ball forms.)

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and place in a warm corner of the kitchen for 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and transfer it to an oiled loaf pan, if making a loaf. To make the rolls, divide into 12 even pieces and pinch into round balls. Place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover again with the towel and place in a warm corner for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size again.

Once the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake the loaf at 350 for 45 minutes-1 hour or the rolls 35-40 minutes. You will know when the loaf/rolls are baked when you tap/knock your knuckles on the top of the loaf and it sounds hollow. Allow to cool 15-20 minutes.

Makes 1 loaf or 12 rolls.