There’s something comforting about cooking for others. I’ve recently spent quite a bit of time in my kitchen, putting together meals for people I know can provide for themselves, but a little help eases their routines right now. I plan a balance of easy-to-heat main dishes, vegetables, bread, and perhaps a dessert or two, make sure I have all the essentials to minimize trips to the store, then settle in to cook. I typically listen to a message series or start a movie that doesn’t require much visual attention. I consider what needs to be in the oven at what temps to determine the order of dishes to prepare. I start items that need some time to rise or cool through multiple steps. I pull the best dishes and storage containers to use, minimizing what needs to be returned. Then I dig in.
A variety of smells begin to permeate my little kitchen. I wash dishes as I go, so I can reuse some utensils and minimize the pile left at the end. When I prepare a wide array of dishes, I label each container and jot a comprehensive list on a large sticky note. It makes it simple for people to glance at the list and choose what they want without scavenging through the refrigerator. I suggest they cross off the items as they deplete them, or jot a note when they only have a serving or two left.
And I get to pray through the process. It is better to give than to receive, but it seems to be the more I give, the more fullness I experience. (Of course, that’s not always the case. There are seasons our sacrifices for others go underappreciated or resented, and that hurts. But that’s another day’s post.) There’s something calming about being in the kitchen for me, and even more so when I’m sharing with others. It’s similar to what I experience as I write. I’m sharing a piece of myself and my life and handing it over to anyone who reads it. Some dishes and posts are a bit more appealing to some than others, but each one is made with purpose and care.
If I could, I’d deliver some homemade goodies for you to enjoy today. Since I can’t, I’ll share a favorite recipe. These oatmeal rolls are a family favorite. They’ll warm your home and your heart. Enjoy!
Oatmeal Dinner Rolls
2 c. water
1 c. oats (I prefer old-fashioned)
3 T. butter
1 pkg. (or 1/4 oz.) dry yeast
1/3 warm water
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
4 1/2-5 1/2 c. flour
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add oats and butter. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm.
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the oat mixture, sugars, salt, and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough that’s not too gooey.
Place on floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (so that it begins to “bounce back” after you press on it). It usually takes 4-6 minutes, depending on how fast you are. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down; flip over; allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Shape into balls and place in two round baking pans or one rectangular one. Cover and let rise until double, about 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Brush with butter if you want.