Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I had soft pretzels on the menu for Sunday night's dinner. I've made them before but was trying a new recipe that looked like it might have more "professional" results. We ended up being invited over to our friend's house to watch the Redskins game. I asked if I could make my pretzels there which of course was fine with them!

I made the dough at home and took everything with me. Have kitchen-will travel!!! My friend helped me which was a lot more fun than doing it alone! We were quite pleased with the results! Right out of the oven, they looked much more like pretzels from a pretzel shop than any I have ever made before. The picture above was taken the next day so the pretzels aren't quite as fresh there.

Here's the recipe I used and will definitely make again:

Start by making a sponge of:
4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour

After this has sponged for 15 minutes, stir in:
2 tablespoons salt
6-8 cups of flour, one cup at a time

Stir flour into your dough slowly, one cup at a time. After a stiff dough forms, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin to knead it. Let the dough rise for about an hour in a greased bowl, and then divide it into 24 parts. Roll each piece into a 20 inch rope and from there shape it into a pretzel. To do this, curve the dough in half, forming a loop in the middle. Cross one end over the other twice and then lay the ends down on top of the loop forming a "pretzel knot."

Let your uncooked pretzels relax on a floured surface or pastry cloth for a few minutes. Stretch them out a bit and fix their shape before poaching them in a simmering mixture of:
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon salt

Poach the pretzels for 1 minute(they will float). Remove them carefully with a slotted spoon and place them on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt, if desired, and bake them for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Serve pretzels with your favorite cheese sauce or mustard.

We made this cheese sauce to go with the pretzels:

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 3 tablespoons flour, cook over moderate heat for a minute and then whisk in 3 cups chicken stock and 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard. When the the stock comes to a bubble and starts to thicken, stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and serve!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Here are our 10 quart and 1 pint of applesauce that Andy and I made and canned together last week. It is so yummy and a good feeling to have this ready in the pantry to eat all winter!

I tied a little "thank you" tag to the pint jar to give to my friend who so kindly loaned me her foley mill! It made the job so much easier!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Another week, another menu!

Dinners for the week:
Monday- eat with friends

Tuesday-BBQ meatballs, buttered pasta, salad

Wednesday-potato soup, corn muffins, salad

Thursday-salmon patties, green beans, fruit salad

Friday-chicken & rice bake, salad

Saturday- puffed apple pancake(new recipe from my sister), bacon

Sunday-white bean dip, tortilla chips, fresh veggies

Breakfasts will be cream of wheat, frozen waffles(heated up, of course!), apple muffins, fresh fruit, toast, homemade yogurt

For lunches this week, we will mainly be eating leftovers. If there are none, we will have the same lunch items that have been on my menu for the past several weeks as we haven't hardly used them- peanut butter sandwiches, frozen homemade soups, grilled cheese.

For more menu-planning inspiration,please visit I'm an organizing junkie!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Menu Plan Monday -on Tuesday!

I had my menu made up but was a little under the weather yesterday so I didn't get it posted until now.

Here's my dinner menu for the week:

Monday-lentil soup, apple-jack quesadillas

Tuesday- spaghetti pie, salad

Wednesday-creamed eggs over homemade biscuits

Thursday-homemade pizza, salad

Friday- pork chops, savory apple roast

Saturday-waffles, sausage links

Sunday-soft pretzels with cheese sauce (I'm trying this recipe I saw on Rachael Ray's show.)

All dinners include salad or veggie even if it's not mentioned!

Breakfasts for the week will be: cold cereal, bananas and apples, eggs and toast, yogurt, cream of wheat and apple-walnut muffins.

Lunches are primarily leftovers. If needed, I have some individual servings of frozen homemade soups, stuff for either peanut butter or egg salad sandwiches and extra salad fixings.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

This week I'm taking the easy way out and baking a chicken that we can eat off of for several days!

Monday- meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad

Tuesday-roast chicken, with potatoes and carrots

Wednesday- chicken and bean burritos

Thursday-chicken salad sandwiches

Friday-chicken soup with cheese tortellini

Saturday- with family

Sunday-grilled cheese

Breakfasts this week will be eggs and toast, honey bran muffins, homemade yogurt, cream of wheat and fresh fruit.

Lunches will be leftovers, peanut butter or turkey sandwiches and salads.

For more menu planning inspiration, please visit I'm an organizing junkie!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Better Than Pam" Pan Release

I made up some of this "Better Than Pam" pan release this week. It is awesome!

I was out of regular pan spray plus I've been looking for a substitution for the aerosol spray for a long time. Just plain oil wasn't cutting it for me!

So when I saw this review on Amy's blog, I was more than happy to give it a try! It's super easy to make and takes about 5 minutes. So far I'm really happy with the results.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

My dinner menu for this week:

Monday: meatball stromboli, salad

Tuesday: nine-bean soup, French bread with herbed cream cheese

Wednesday:cheese enchiladas(from freezer), salad

Thursday: stove top chicken and rice

Friday: sandwiches

Saturday:eat out

Breakfasts this week will be cold cereal, pancakes(from freezer),honey bran muffins and eggs and toast.

Lunches will be leftovers, peanut butter and honey or ham sandwiches or salads.

For more menu plan inspiration, please visit I'm an organizing junkie!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Cracked Wheat Bread

I made a new recipe of cracked wheat bread today. I was planning to make my regular honey-wheat bread but noticed I was almost out of whole wheat flour!(Time for grocery shopping!)

I looked through my Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Bread Cookbook(a recent thrift store find for $1) and found a recipe for Cracked Wheat bread. I had some cracked wheat in the freezer so I decided to give it a try.

I made several changes to the original recipe and it turned out really yummy! I will definitely be making this bread again. Here's the recipe just as I made it...

Cracked Wheat Bread

2 cups warm water
2 packages or 2 T. active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup cracked wheat(soaked for a few minutes in warm water; I soaked mine for maybe 20 minutes-it just seemed like the right thing to do-LOL!!!)
4-4 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2-3 tablespoons ground flax seed-optional
8 teaspoons Vital Wheat Gluten-optional but makes a softer and better rising bread)

Directions(with a mixer):
In mixer bowl, combine water and yeast. Let set for about 5 minutes; then add sugar, butter and salt. Beat on low speed for a minute or so; add drained cracked wheat, 2 cups white flour,whole wheat flour, flax seed and gluten. Mix for several minutes at low to medium speed. Scrape bowl if needed and add the rest of the white flour-a little at a time, mixing and adding flour until dough is stiff but still slightly sticky to the touch.(You may need a bit more flour-use your own discretion.)Mix for about 8 minutes total until thoroughly mixed and a nice dough.

Place dough in greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover and set in warm spot to rise until doubled- about one hour. When doubled in size, punch down and let rise until doubled again. After second rising, punch down and divide into 2 loaves. Let dough rest for about 10 minutes. Shape loaves and place in greased bread pans. Cover and let rise until doubled in size-again!

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes. If crusts brown too quickly, cover with foil for the last 15 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and cool on wire racks or towel. Brush tops with butter if desired.

Makes 2 loaves

Works For You Wednesday

This week for Works For Me Wednesday, it's Backwards Day! Instead of giving a great idea,we are asking for answers/ideas/advice for a specific question we may have.

My question is this:

I buy Tupperware at yard sales and thrift stores. Much of it, especially the older styles, has a musty smell inside. The smell doesn't go away after repeated baths in the dishwasher either. I know I'm not the only one who buys used Tupperware. How can I get rid of the smell?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Three Years

Happy Anniversary, Andy! I love you!

"I promise I will love you all the seasons of my life and be thankful for the beauty of just sharing them with you." -from a card given before we were married

More of our pictures and wedding details can be found here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Here is my dinner menu plan for the week:

Monday-creamed eggs on toast

Tuesday-baked tilapia, sweet potatoes, steamed green beans

Wednesday-barley "risotto"(new recipe)

Thursday-BBQ meatballs served over rice

Friday-Mexican pizzas(from kit)

Saturday-eggs, bacon, cheese grits

All dinners are served with either a salad or veggie on the side.

For breakfasts this week, we have cold cereal, eggs and toast, cream of wheat, and pumpkin muffins.

Lunches are usually dinner leftovers. For days with no leftovers, we have vegetable soup(frozen in individual portions) or peanut butter sandwiches.

For more menu planning inspiration, please visit I'm An Organizing Junkie!