"Believe in your heart, follow your dreams or just go to Disneyland." Emma -age 4

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pretzel Dogs

These were so good, I couldn't wait to blog them. Two posts in one week. It's almost like I'm a real blogger! Anyway, these were beyond good. I just wouldn't want someone to miss out on a opportunity for awesomeness. I know. I'm a true friend.

I printed out this recipe back in April. But she got the recipe from here. I don't know why I haven't made them before now. Probably because I thought they were going to be super difficult. But these were a piece of cake. Mostly because I didn't make the dough. Jason did. But even he said they were easy. And the dough goes together in an hour. Which for a yeast dough is really fast.

To make them into pretzel hot dogs is easy. When you roll the dough into long tubes make them 16 inches instead of 12. You'll need the extra length to go all the way around the dog. I had 12 hot dogs but we would have had enough dough for 14-16. Allow the rolls to rest for a few minutes and then take a piece of dough and start at one end and twist the dough all the way around the dog. Pinch the ends together and then set aside. When all the dogs are wrapped, boil 10 cups of water with 2/3 a cup of baking soda. This is the exact measurement you need. Don't cheat. I'll know. Next just boil the dogs for 1 minute. Transfer them to a wire rack to drip and then place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with an egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake them at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. You want them to be golden brown. Serve with a variety of mustard. But some of that nasty orange nacho cheese would be good too.

We used two kinds of hot dogs. Hebrew National and Earl Campbell Red Hot links. I wanted a little higher quality dog than Oscar Mayer. Jason and I agreed that the Hebrew was by far the superior dog. While the Campbells were tasty, it was too much meat to pretzel. We used good old French's, Gulden's Spicy Brown and Grey Poupon mustard. And we both agreed that the Grey Poupon really complimented the Hebrew. Whew. This is a long post. But this recipe is deserving of it.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I took this photo earlier this year. I was going to try and make one of those moving pictures, but I didn't want to fool with PSE today. So, you get this. I love their faces. Such unbridled enthusiasm to be silly and have fun. And it reminded me of this post. I read it awhile ago but the message is a good one.

I want MY greatest desire to be "to love my life while I'm living it." To live each and every day like it is my last day on earth. To have joy unbridled. To love unconditionally.

And now to clean and do laundry. But I must admit I am having a hard time loving that.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Wow. So almost a month since my last post. So many things have happened and I just haven't made time to blog. Well, no longer. I made these two weeks ago I think. Jason was out of town for training and the girls wanted calzones. Ever one to give in to the demands of my children, I agreed. ;) Actually, they just sounded good so I got to work.

I wish I could tell you where this recipe comes from, but I have no idea. Jason used to be the master of all things yeast and this is one of his recipes. I used to be so afraid of yeast and Jason, being a loving husband, said I just needed to get over myself and refused to help me. So I got over it. And succeeded. Now I am the master.

This recipe is ridiculously easy and idiot proof so don't allow fear to control you and your menu planning. Make this today!

Dough Recipe

3 1/2 c. flour
1 c. warm water
2 T. yeast
1-2 T. honey (Just depending on your sweet preference.)
1/4 c. olive oil
1-2 t. salt

I mix this dough by hand. It is super easy and you don't have to get out your heavy mixer. And one less thing to wash is a good thing.

Start by pouring the warm water into a large bowl. I used to worry about this part. And Jason gave me some advice that has really helped. The water shouldn't be any warmer than you would feed to a baby. If it's too hot for a bottle, it will kill your yeast. Add the honey and salt and mix it up until it is well blended. Now add the yeast and mix it up a little more. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes or until the yeast gets all frothy. Add in 1 cup of the flour and the olive oil. Mix until it is well blended. Add the rest of the flour and mix well. If you want to add anything else to the dough do so now. I sometimes add in chopped garlic and black pepper.

Your dough should turn into a ball at this point. If it doesn't, it is either too dry or too wet. Add in either flour or warm water a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. The dough should hold it's shape and be slightly elastic. Once the dough is balled up, I just knead it in the mixing bowl for about a minute. Doing this ensures that you build up the gluten which will yield a light and fluffy dough. Transfer this ball into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm dry place and allow to rise until it is doubled or about 45 minutes. Now you get to show the dough who's boss. Give it a good smack so that it deflates and allow the dough to rise again for another hour or so. Now your dough is ready to use.

If you want to make pizza, transfer the dough to a floured board and cut it in half. Then roll out the dough and add the toppings. I usually use a little cornmeal on my pizza board so that it doesn't stick. Bake the pizza on a stone in a 450 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes.

If I am making calzones, I transfer the dough to a floured board and cut it into 8-10 equal pieces. Flatten out the rounds onto a board dusted with cornmeal. Add just a tablespoon of sauce and your desired toppings. My favorite is pepperoni, cheese, spinach, jalapeno and just a little fresh basil. Stupid good. Seal it up and transfer to a pizza stone and bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Just tap the top. If it sounds hollow and the outside is nice and brown they are ready to eat. Enjoy!