Cooking, it is More than Food, it is Bonding!

At Pleasant Hill Place (PHP), our supportive transitional home for mothers and children, cooking is a very social activity…and it’s fun!

Cooking is used as an opportunity for staff to teach residents a new life skill, that naturally turns into an opportunity to bond. Often the PHP kitchen is filled with so much laughter it is easy to engage in conversation and build relationships.

PHP staff put a lot of emphasis on cooking because they know that when a resident moves out, typically they will be on social assistance and that they will need to be able to create nutritious meals with a limited budget. The ability for individuals to provide their family with healthy, delicious meals that are affordable is a skill that is learned, people are not born with it.

What is equally important to cooking, is enjoying
the prepared meal together. Conversation and
laughter are encouraged around the kitchen table
so that residents know it is a safe place that they
can come together daily.

Make it at home!

PHP staff member Christie, is known for her amazing baking skills and often bakes bread for the house. She has a way with bread and dough that makes it turn from glue to puffy clouds of goodness!

Try out Christie’s Braided Bread!


  • 1 packet of yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 whole eggs + 1 egg whisked for egg wash
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. In a bowl, add 1 cup warm water, yeast and sugar. Mix lightly with a fork to get all the yeast in the water and set aside for about 15 minutes. It should begin to foam up and you should see little bubbles.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, honey and 2 eggs and pour mixture into the yeast mixture.
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients (flour and salt) and add it to your wet ingredients 1 cup at a time. Continue to mix until everything is incorporated. The dough should begin to pull away from the bowl and come to 1 large ball of dough.
  4. Turn the dough onto a very well-floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. You can use your finger to see if it’s ready. Press your finger in and if the dough bounces back quickly, it’s ready.
  5. In a large bowl, pour a bit of oil in and place your dough ball in the bowl. Turn it around so the entire dough is covered with a thin layer of oil. Cover with a clean towel and place bowl in a warm spot. Allow to rest and rise for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.
  6. When dough is ready, it should have doubled in size. Punch the dough down and divide dough into 3 or 4 pieces (depending on what kind of braid you’d like), which will be your strands. Roll each strand into a long rope all of equal sizes.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place braided bread on a baking sheet. Brush the surface with egg. Allow to rest for another 30 minutes.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown.