Posts Tagged ‘blog’

April 26: National Pretzel Day

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

National Pretzel Day celebrates pretzels of all shapes and sizes.

So how do you like your pretzel?

Thick or thin?

Straight or twisted?

Crisp and crunchy, or soft?



With a dip? Mustard flavored, perhaps?

There is no shortage to types of pretzels and that’s all I have to say about that.

  • Chocolate and Vanilla Pretzel Rods
    • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 16 oz. pkg. vanilla flavored candy coating
    • 24 pretzel rods
    • Assorted sprinkles, if desired
    • Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds until melted. Do not overcook!
    • Dip half of the pretzel rods into the melted chocolate and lay on waxed paper to harden. Set remaining chocolate aside.
    • Add sprinkles (if desired) before the chocolate is set.
    • Meanwhile, melt vanilla candy coating in the microwave. (according to package directions) Cook 1 minute, stir, then cook 15 seconds at a time, until melted.
    • Dip the other half of the pretzel rods into the vanilla coating and lay on waxed paper to harden.
    • Dip a fork into the remaining vanilla candy coating and drizzle over the chocolate dipped pretzels.
    • Dip a clean fork into reserved chocolate (hopefully still melted) and drizzle over the vanilla candy coated pretzels.
    • Refrigerate the chocolate-dipped pretzels on a wax paper lined plate for about 20 minutes to harden. (The vanilla works like magic.)

Dipped pretzel rods are simple and fun to make. Depending on your preference, whether it be tons of colorful sprinkles or a cool opposite pattern effect…or straight up dipped with no messing around, you can’t lose. It’s trial and error time, people. And pretty much all errors win here.

But dang, this is a lot of topping…woops. Luckily I had some regular pretzels on hand. We mixed the remaining chocolate and vanilla together to make…um…chocolate-vanilla dipped pretzels…pretzels with a nice tan. I think the mix of the two flavors together tasted best, but all of the dips were good.

I was wishing I had some strawberries. This vanilla coating would be perfect for them. Not to mention, when the remaining levels of what’s left over get lower, you need smaller objects to dip. All simple physics. So if you’re out of pretzel rods, grab whatever you’ve got….cause this stuff is not flushable!

Oh Noes! My Bananas!

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

So I looked on my counter today and this is what I found. An all too familiar sight in our house. Those last few bananas, overripe and left for dead.

Then an all too familiar thought goes through my head that says, “Make them into banana bread.” A thought that typically gets pushed to the side like these poor bananas, until I finally throw them in the garbage realizing there is no hope for them.

But not today! Oh no, I’m going to rejuvenate these babies this time! I owe a thanks to Culinary Cowgirl whose post and pretty banana bread motivated me to try out her recipe and use the bananas this time.

  • Banana Bread (adapted from the Joy of Cooking)
    • 1 C flour
    • 1/3 C whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 6 T butter
    • 2/3 C sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 3 overripe bananas
    • Additional extras, if desired
    • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
    • Add eggs and vanilla, beating until well blended.
    • Fold in mashed bananas.
    • Add flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder, stirring until combined. At this point add any additional extras you may have.
    • Scrape batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Here’s the batter before going into the oven…

And here’s how it came out…

Although the bread was tasty, I immediately got docked for having no nuts in it. (Dang, fail..) What is this thing you call Banana Bread with no nuts?! Apparently Banana Nut Bread is the only Banana Bread. I wish I would have added some because a little crunchy nutty flavor within is never a bad thing. Next fail was me removing the loaf from the pan before it had cooled, which left the bottom of the banana bread in my loaf pan. I’m still not sure if that was the reason it stuck or if it was my lack of “additional extras”, but either way this banana bread was very moist…which was good. And using this recipe is a good way to get some wheat into your family’s diet in a very unoffensive manner in case they aren’t good sports about it.

February: National Heart Month

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Oh, yes. There’s more to February than an abundance of chocolate. It is also National Heart Month, so here are several things we can do that may protect our hearts.


Get nutty! “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” This chart has a really clear break down of the nutrients in one ounce of tree nuts and peanuts. So eat a handful of nuts today!

vegetableart01.jpg Color your meals healthy. Eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables is good for your overall health and may help protect against heart disease. Personally, I think that laughing at colorful fruits and vegetables may help too. Have a look for yourself.

bread.jpg Go with whole grains. “Diets rich in whole-grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.” Make sure to eat foods with 51 percent or more whole grain ingredients. (such as wheat or oats)

DriedBeans.jpg Jump on the bean bandwagon. Which bean is your thing? There’s garbanzo beans, black beans, red beans, navy beans, pinto beans…should I go on? All these beans and more provide soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. As part of a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet, they may be helpful for your heart. They’re also a great source of folate, another nutrient that may help your heart.

So in honor of National Heart Month, skip that piece of white bread and have wheat. Eats plenty of fruits and vegetables. At snacktime have a handful of nuts and of course, don’t forget to eat plenty of beans.

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