Category Archives: Kitchen Adventures

Hot Pretzels by Norpro

Yesterday, I posted pictures of the vegan pretzels that I was making!  This was the second time that I’ve made these pretzels.  I had forgotten how good they were, especially HOT out of the oven!!  I simply used the recipe (Hot Buttered Pretzels) that came with the pretzel pan that I bought (made by Norpro), and eliminated the butter in order to make it VEGAN!!  I promised a friend that I’d post the recipe, so here goes!

Hot Pretzels

Dough:

2- 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 package active dry yeast (1/4 oz)

1 cup warm water

Baking Soda Wash:

1/2 cup warm water

2 Tbsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 500ºF.  Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl and beat by hand or machine until well combined (I used my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment).  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth, and quite slack.  Place dough in a plastic bag (I just placed plastic wrap over the bowl from my stand mixer), allowing it to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.  Spray Pretzel Pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray (you probably can just use a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan; that’s probably what I would’ve done if I didn’t have the pan).

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide into 6 equal pieces.  Allow the pieces to rest uncovered for 5 minutes.

Combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a shallow bowl, making sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved or it’ll make a splotchy glaze.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28-30″), form into a pretzel on Nonstick Pretzel Pan.  Brush each pretzel sparingly  with baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice golden brown color).  (I added coarse/kosher salt at this point so that I wouldn’t need to use butter at the end in order to make the salt stick.  You could also make a stuffed pretzel, something that I’ll probably try next!)

This is what my pretzels looked like before going into the oven.  My first one didn't look too nice, but I think I got better at it!

This is what my pretzels looked like before going into the oven. My first one didn’t look too nice, but I think I got better at it!

Bake the pretzels for 8-9 minutes or until they are golden brown, turning the baking sheets halfway through (I forgot to turn the pan, but it still turned out ok).  Remove the pretzels from the oven to a cooling rack.

Here are my finished pretzels!  All nice and brown, and puffy!

Here are my finished pretzels! All nice and brown, and puffy!

Pretzels are best fresh from the oven or reheat them in the microwave.  (You could do all kinds of toppings!!  Chocolate, caramel, salt, dijon mustard, fresh cracked black pepper, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, lemon pepper, garlic powder; use your imagination, and have FUN!!)

 

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60 Day Juice Fast/Reboot Update!! FINALLY!!

So sorry that it’s been FOREVER!!!  I’ve been meaning to write this update for the LONGEST time!!  Dave and I ended our 60 day juice fast on April 4th!  The verdict??!!  Dave lost a total of 40 pounds, and I lost a total of 33 pounds!!  Here is a before and after composite.  The before picture is courtesy of our dear friends, Brett & Rita McKinley (taken in October); the after picture is courtesy of John Henry of John Henry Photography.

We both feel so much better.  A HUGE plus, is that Dave’s palate has adjusted, and he’s ACTUALLY, EATING vegetables!!!  Those that know Dave, know how BIG this is!!  He was a self proclaimed veggie hater!!  Now, he LOVES his veggies!!  We are trying to eat vegan, following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live diet.  Eating high nutrient dense foods is the key!!  So, another “toy” that we’ve invested in, is a steamer!!  Boy, have we put it to good use!!  LOVE steamed veggies!!

It’s been so NICE to FINALLY be able to cook & eat the way that I’ve been wanting to for the longest time!!  Here’s a look at our first Costco cart, after our juice fast!  What a CHANGE!!

Since our first day back on solid food landed on a Wednesday, our celebration meals were Whole Foods salads (since the food bars are $2 off on Wednesday, SCORE!!)!  I went a little overboard, but hey!  I had enough for ANOTHER meal!!

 

So, if you are considering a juice fast, we’d TOTALLY recommend it!!  If you can, check out “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” first.  You can view it on Netflix.  Then go to their website (www.jointhereboot.com).  Be patient.  The website CAN be slow since there is a lot of traffic on the website.  They do have an evaluation that you can fill out, so that you can see what kind of reboot/juice fast would be best for you to try.  We would recommend, along with Joe from the film, that you at least give the juice fast 10 days.  That way, you can experience the most benefits possible, in a short amount of time.  Trying to decide on a what type of juicer to buy?  We bought an Omega 8003 Nutrition Center from a local health food store (Alive & Well).  Here’s a GREAT article, explaining the differences between the different juicers.

Any questions, please let us know!! 😀

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Reboot Time!!

So, I guess that I now have no excuse to NOT blog!!  For those of you who have been wondering what we’ve been up to, I’ll try to start from the beginning!

Through the Sovereignty of God, Dave came across a documentary on Netflix (background: Several months ago, to save some money, we got rid of our cable and decided to try streaming Netflix through our Wii console; Netflix was offering the streaming only for $7.99/month; to our surprise, it works beautifully!!), and finally got around to watching it!  The documentary is called, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”  Here is the trailer:

Praise God!!  After viewing this, Dave was finally starting to grasp the fact that he needed to start consuming vegetables!!  Those of you who know Dave, know that he is a proclaimed veggie hater!!  The only thing he’ll eat is a salad.  So this was a BIG PRAISE!!

Praise God, Dave continued to dig deeper!!  Dave also watched “Forks Over Knives,” “Ingredients,” “Food, Inc,” and “Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue.”

Forks Over Knives Trailer

Food, Inc Trailer

Engine 2 Rescue

YAY!!  So, we are finally incorporating a TON of veggies into our diet (unlike Dave, I’ve always LOVED my veggies!!)!!  Dave has been wanting to do a 60 day Reboot (it is recommended to do at least a 10 day reboot to get the benefits).  Dave has gotten so excited about this that he’s been sharing it with everyone he can!!  He’s been able to convert one of his co-workers (who started his reboot before we did), and have convinced other people to consider it, or do a modified version.

We are doing something a little different- a smoothie fast instead of a juice fast.  We are using our Vitamix to make our drinks.  Since it liquifies everything (the pulp), it is considered a smoothie.  The difference between juicing and making smoothies is that in juicing, the pulp has been removed, so your body can immediately absorb and make use of the nutrients.  With smoothies, because the body has to first work to break down the fiber, the nutrients aren’t as readily available.  But the plus for us, is that it helps to make us feel fuller longer, which is good since we can’t constantly be drinking juice throughout the day.  Here is a good article that I found explaining the differences.

Dave didn’t want to start our reboot until after he finished his annual training (due to circumstances, it would’ve been hard to keep the smoothies cold since he wouldn’t have access to a refrigerator).  But we were drinking smoothies as a supplement to our diet.

We officially started our reboot this past Friday (February 3, 2012)!  Unfortunately, I experienced some side effects of the detox stage, my first two days.  It’s normal for people to have that, but it affects people in different ways.  Praise God that we started it on Friday!  Since it was the weekend, I could just veg! 🙂 I was feeling blahhh, and had a headache my first two days.  Praise God, I felt much better on Sunday!!  I did experience a headache at the end of the day, but didn’t have the blahs that I previously had!

Luckily for Dave, he didn’t experience any side effects, and as of yesterday morning, he’s already lost about 6 pounds!  So, we’ll see how this continues to go!!

You might be wondering what our plan is after we finish our reboot.  Well, we are planning on implementing a whole plant lifestyle (some people may call it a vegan diet), like outlined in Forks Over Knives and Engine 2 Diet (Engine 2 Rescue).

I’ll try to keep you updated, but you can also follow me on twitter! 🙂

1st Vitamix Smoothie!
Filled fridge!! Looks so different!!

Whole Food Shopping Trip! Everything is washed, cut and ready to go!! Makes smoothie making go quicker!

Example of how the Vitamix is LOADED up! A bunch of different stuff!! I'm starting to figure out what are good combinations! Unfortunately, this wasn't too successful! Tons of tasting and adding to do! But I finally came away with a good smoothie!

We have a lot of reading to do!!

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Pasta Concoction: Hit or Miss?!

I’ve been enjoying getting to know my way around the kitchen, of course, thanks to the Food Network!! 😀

Lately, Dave has been on a seafood kick; mainly, a king crab leg kick!  After bringing home and cooking some king crab legs from Costco (well, I was really “warming them up” since they were previously frozen/cooked), Dave turned to me and asked if I knew how to cook other seafood (fish, oysters, whole crab, lobster, etc.).  (side note: the crab legs, from Costco, were yummy!)  Um . . . nope!!  Growing up, we couldn’t afford to eat that kind of food, so I never learned how to cook it!!  But in this kind of situation, the internet/Google/You Tube/Food Network is my best friend!!

The idea for the pasta concoction that I came up with the other night all started out with wanting to cook something using stuff I already had.  I knew that I wanted to use the shrimp scampi that I had in the freezer, but didn’t want to just throw it with spaghetti wheat noodles like I usually do (Dave is usually looking for the “meat”!).

After a trip to the super market, I decided to use penne pasta (wheat), clams, orange bell pepper, white wine (don’t worry, I cooked it long so that the alcohol would burn off) and onions (along with the shrimp scampi that I already had).  After tasting for QC (quality control), it didn’t quite taste  right.  It needed something a little creamy.  I had some alfredo sauce.  So I opened up the jar and added some alfredo sauce, and grated some parmigiano reggiano cheese.  Hey!  I think this is a hit!! 🙂  Not bad for not having a recipe to follow! 😀

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Valentine’s Cinnamon Rolls

A while back, I made the Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls.  It didn’t come out like I wanted (didn’t have enough powdered sugar for the frosting).  So I’ve been looking for an excuse to make them again!

I decided to share the love for Valentine’s Day!  How appropriate, right?!!  Since I wanted to share with people at work, Hubby’s work, family friends, and also keep some for ourselves, I decided to make a double batch.  BOY, was that a huge undertaking, in my small kitchen, with little work space!!

Here’s my first try at documenting this kitchen adventure.  Sorry if my pictures may seem a little mismatched.  Since I did two batches (I don’t have big enough pots/bowls to do 2 batches at once), I used different bowls/pots to make the dough in.  I narrowed down the pictures, and chose the best ones.  Here they are!  For the actual recipe and tips, please check out Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls!  Here’s my rendition!

The very first thing that I did, was do the prep work, as in wash and dry all pans that I planned on putting my cinnamon rolls in.

Mix 1 quart of Whole Milk,

1 cup of Vegetable Oil,

and 1 cup of Sugar in a pot,

and scald (heat until just before the mixture boils).

Then turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  This would be a good time to go do some chores, read, search the web, etc.  Enjoy!  Have fun!

After the mixture has cooled to lukewarm (it is very important that it is NOT hot), sprinkle in 2 packages of Active Dry Yeast and let it sit for about 1 minute.Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour and stir.  Yes, it does look a little gross, but it is TOTALLY worth it, for the end result is ONOLICIOUS!!Then comes more waiting!  But again, it’s all TOTALLY worth it for the end result!

Cover and let the dough rise for at least an hour.  I covered my bowls with plastic wrap.  Then, since I was doing this in the late night/early morning when it was cool, I put the bowl in my oven.  I learned a neat trick when I was learning to make focaccia!  To aid in the rising of the dough, turn just the oven light on (and NOT the actual oven).  This will provide just enough “heat” to provide a warm environment for the yeast to get all happy and do it’s thing!

Use this time to do the dishes (I’m a HUGE fan of doing dishes as you go.  Growing up, we did dishes after the fact.  I always hated having SO MANY dishes in the end to clean up!  So once I started cooking/baking, I just started to do the dishes as I went along.  I found that in the end, clean up wasn’t such a dreaded task anymore, for there wasn’t a HUGE pile of dishes!  YAY!!  I thank God for this revelation!!), read, catch up on TV, call a friend, etc.

This would also be a good time to melt the butter so that it has time to cool (yes, there is a TON of butter!  Hey, I did NOT say it was guilt free!!  It is TOTAL GUILT, and so DELISH because of it!!), and brew the coffee which is used for the icing.

After the dough has risen for at least an hour (a good indication is that the dough has doubled in size), add 1 more cup of flour,1 heaping teaspoon of Baking Powder,1 scant teaspoon of Baking Soda,and 1 heaping Tablespoon of salt.  Use your muscles, and stir this whole mixture together!Whew!!!  Prep work pau (done)!!  Now, on to the actual assembly of the cinnamon rolls!!  YAY!!!

Clean a big surface and generously sprinkle with flour.  I used our kitchen table, since I don’t have enough counter space.

Take half the dough and put it on your floured work surface.Form a rough rectangle and roll the dough thin.  While rolling out the dough, keep the dough in the rough rectangle shape.  Drizzle 1/2-1 cup of melted butter (yes, I know this sounds like a lot, but believe me, it adds to the deliciousness!) on the dough.  Then sprinkle 1 cup of sugar followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.Starting at the opposite end, start to roll the dough toward you, keeping it relatively tight.Pinch the seam to seal the roll.  Yes, this is MESSY, and there should be enough butter, that it is oozing out!!

Spread about 1 tablespoon of melted butter in your pan.  Cut the rolls approximately 3/4-1 inch thick and lay them in the pan.

Repeat this process with the remaining half of the dough.  Then let the rolls rise for another 20-30 minutes (I usually let them rise a little longer, just enough to fill out the pan some).Bake the rolls at 375 degrees F until they are golden brown (about 15-18 minutes).  While the rolls are in the oven, make the frosting.

Combine 1 bag of Powdered Sugar (yes, as in the 32 oz bag), 2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring, 1/2 cup Milk, 1/4 cup Melted Butter, 1/4 cup Brewed Coffee, and 1/8 teaspoon Salt.Once the rolls are out of the oven, generously drizzle the icing over them. Let them cool, just a little, so that you don’t burn yourself!  ENJOY!!

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Hello world!


Aloha!!  After MUCH encouragement from my wonderful Husband, I am FINALLY starting my own blog!!  I’ve put this off for soooooo long since I had absolutely NO IDEA where to start!  I still don’t, so I guess I’ll just start off with an introduction!

I thought that this might be a good place to keep a journal of sorts, of God’s mercy and grace in my life!  I am a newlywed (well, sort of; married to an AMAZING man of God by the name of David, for 1 year and 7 months), and have seen many changes in my life since the day I said, “I DO!”  It has been amazing to see how God has worked in both my life, and my Husband’s.

One AMAZING thing that just happened in my life, is that there is a new addition to our family!  My cousin and his wife just had their second child early this morning!  A Baby Boy!  His Big Sister can’t WAIT to meet him!  We are all praying that he’ll have a name before they have to leave the hospital! LOL!

One adventure that I am enjoying as a newlywed, is learning my way around the kitchen!  I watch the Food Channel and Rachael Ray to get inspiration.  There have been some hits, and also some misses.  Thank you LORD for giving me the love to be in the kitchen, for I fear where we might be if I didn’t!  My HUBBY absolutely HATES to be in the kitchen!  I think we might be starving, or living off of plate lunches or frozen food!  NOT GOOD!!  I really don’t know how he survived so long as a bachelor!

Another adventure, that I have recently started to get more serious about, is photography.  I’ve always been interested, but never REALLY got serious about it until now.  God is AMAZING, at how He works in our lives!  I’m learning, and would LOVE to make it a full time job.  In particular, I’m looking at wedding and portrait photography.  God has lead me to an amazing photographer via the Internet.  My goal is to shoot like her, using natural light, in manual mode!

Well, I guess I should close now!  I hope to post often.  This is my first time blogging.  So if anybody out there has tips/advice/etc for me, please feel free to leave me a comment!

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