Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Soft Pretzel Bites Recipe

Lately my kids have been on a pretzel bite kick. These soft and yummy little pretzels are a great snack and fun to make together. They are also a perfect appetizer or snack for a football party. Being in Colorado and Bronco fans, in this house we will definitely be making these for the big game this Sunday and serving them in blue and orange bowls!

Soft Pretzel Bites Recipe

Ingredients:



1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse salt

The first step to making these yummy pretzels is to make your dough. For Christmas this year, I got an amazing Kitchen Aid food processor, so I gave my new toy a try in mixing the dough. You can use a mixer, food processor or knead the dough by hand.

Combine the water, brown sugar, yeast and butter in your bowl. Allow this to sit for 5 minutes.

Next add the salt and flour and mix your dough. Here's my dough in my new toy!


Once your dough is well kneaded, set it aside in a covered bowl to rise to double in size (for about 1 hour).

When your dough has doubled, preheat your over to 425°. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope that is approximately 12". Use your kitchen scissors or a knife to cut each rope into twelve 1" pieces. They are starting to look a little bit like pretzels bites now!


Now comes the fun part! Add the baking soda to the water and bring to a boil in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, add your pretzels in batches and boil for 30 seconds. This part sounds strange but it is very important to getting that pretzel taste and texture. This is what gives the pretzel it's brown shiny crust and distinctive flavor.

Use a slotted spoon and remove the pretzel bites from the water and place immediately on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking oil. Combine the egg and water and brush each pretzel with the egg.  Bake in your preheated over for 12-15 minutes.

The pretzels taste best when warm out of the oven. They can be served with cheese sauce. Make your own or save time and buy a jar. Pretzels are also yummy with cinnamon and sugar or cream cheese. There are so many possibilities. Enjoy!

Thanks to Two Peas and Their Pod where I first found this recipe on Pinterest.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How to Make a Memo Board - DIY

Kids always have lots of pictures, awards and mementos they love to hang up in their room. Why not make a simple memo board to help them organize their special items? This tutorial will show you how!

How to make a memo board
 You only need a few supplies to create this memo board. You will need:

  • A standard 23"x35" bulletin board. You can find one of these at any discount or office supply store.
  • A standard Crib Sheet. They are the perfect size to fit over this size bulletin board and come in so many fun fabrics!
  • A staple gun.
  • Thumb tacks or furniture tacks.
  • Coordinating ribbon.
Cover the front of your bulletin board with the crib sheet. Wrap the sheet around the back side. Carefully staple the crib sheet to the back side of the frame of the board making sure the fabric is tight across the front of the board. Once you have stapled all the way around cut off the excess fabric on the back side.


Stretch ribbon across the front of your memo board. Use furniture or decorative thumb tacks to secure the ribbon where it criss-crosses and secure the ends of the ribbon to the back side of the frame of the board with a staple.



Hang your board on the wall and slip mementos behind the ribbon or pin them to the board. A simple way to get your kids room organized and add a personal touch!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup Recipe

Do you need some soup to warm up a cold winter day? My Chicken and Gnocchi Soup Recipe is one of our family favorites. I first had this kind of soup at the Olive Garden and knew that I had to come up with my own version to make at home.

Here's the recipe it is yummy and sure to please!


Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons flour
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 16 oz package of gnocchi, cooked according to the package directions.
1-2 cups chopped spinach
Ground nutmeg
Ground black pepper

For this soup, I always begin by cooking up my chicken. My favorite method for tender, flavorful chicken breasts is to cut them in half and pound to an even thickness. Then, I place the chicken breasts in a large skillet with heated olive oil and add salt and pepper. I cover the pan and cook chicken at medium heat on each side for 6-8 minutes until the meat is done. Cube or shred the meat once it is cooked.

While the chicken is cooking add your onion, celery, carrots, garlic and butter to a large skillet. Saute over medium heat until the veggies are tender. 6-10 minutes depending on how small you chop your veggies.

Once the veggies are cooked, add the flour to the mixture. Stir it in and cook for 1 minute to cook the flour.

Add the chicken broth and cooked chicken to the pan with your veggies. Cook over medium heat until the broth is almost to a boil. Now is a good time to boil your gnocchi, in a separate pan according to the package directions.

Add the cream and prepared gnocchi to the broth mixtures and continue to cook over medium heat to warm the cream. Do not bring to boil.

Once everything is warm, add the chopped spinach and sprinkle in a pinch or ground nutmeg and pepper. Cook for one minute more.

Now your delicious soup is ready to serve with a delicious salad or warm Amazing Crusty Bread.

Enjoy!



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ruffle Baby Bedding for Girls

Are you daydreaming in ruffles? One of the hot new trends we are seeing in nursery design for 2014 is Ruffle Baby Bedding.

If your looking to add girly elements to a nursery for your sweet little one, take a look at some of the new beautiful crib bedding sets with ruffle crib skirts. The Pink and Turquoise Floral Tiny Bouquet Baby Bedding Set features a gorgeous rose floral print with a pink tiered ombre ruffle skirt.

Pink and Turquoise Ruffle Baby Bedding

Chevron continues to be a trend that is going strong. Combine it with an adorable pink ombre tiered ruffled skirt for a charming look for a little girl. Caden Lane's new Girly Chevron Baby Bedding Set is one of our new favorites!

 Chevron Ruffle Baby Bedding

The color purple is on the rise in home decor trends. Combine it with a trendy leopard print, for a fun and funky style for your little girl. The Girl's Purple Leopard Ruffle Baby Bedding set fits the bill. Girly style meets fashionable fun for a new look we love!

Purple Leopard Ruffle Baby Bedding

What do you think? Are the ruffles here to stay? We think so!