Pretzel Rolls

These pretzel rolls (or pretzel buns) have a definite pretzelish flavor. I assume you could roll them into a snake and cook as a soft pretzel, although I think you could actually make a pretty decent bagel this way as well. I made these as hamburger buns, so I shaped them more flat, but for an actual roll, you'd shape them more spherical. In the blog post, Mel's husband asked if she bought them from a fancy store; Kirsten also asked if I had bought them somewhere. I made half the recipe and ended up with 8 well-sized hamburger buns. Also, I cooked them on our pizza stone with a little cornmeal under each.

  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups warm milk (about 100-110 degrees F)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 100-110 degrees F)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 1/2 - 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Water Bath and Extras:
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or you can do this by hand in a large bowl), stir together the yeast, oil, milk and water. Add the salt and two cups of the flour. Add the rest of the flour gradually until a soft dough is formed and knead for 3-4 minutes. You may not need to use all the flour depending on many different factors - add the flour until a soft dough is formed that clears the sides of the bowl. It is similar in texture to bagel dough and should be slightly more stiff and less sticky than, say, roll dough, but definitely still soft and not overfloured.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it with greased plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
  3. Portion the dough into 16 pieces and roll each piece of dough into a lovely little round ball. Here's a great tutorial on how to do that quickly and efficiently.
  4. Lay out the rolls on lightly greased parchment or a lightly floured counter. Make sure the dough balls won't stick! Let them rest for 15-20 minutes.
  5. While the dough rests, bring the water, sugar and baking soda to a boil in a large 5-6 quart saucepan.
  6. Working with one piece of dough at a time, carefully take it off the parchment or counter, flip it over in your hand and pinch the bottom to form a little pucker and help the dough form a nice, taut ball. Take care not to deflate the dough; you should pinch just the very edge of the dough.
  7. Place 3-4 dough balls in the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side (the longer you boil, the chewier the baked pretzel roll will be).
  8. With a spatula, remove the dough from the boiling water and let the excess water drip off into the pan. Place the boiled dough balls onto lined baking sheets (lined with parchment or a silpat liner).
  9. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  10. Using a very sharp knife or razor, slice 2-3 cuts into the top of each unbaked roll about 1/4-inch deep or so. It's important to use a very sharp blade so that it cuts the dough without deflating it. It's ok if the dough looks wrinkly and kind of funny. It will work itself out during baking. Lightly sprinkle each dough ball with coarse salt.
  11. Bake for 20-22 minutes until the rolls are deep golden brown. These rolls definitely taste best the same day they are made; however, lightly warmed in the microwave for a few seconds will do wonders for pretzel rolls 1-2 days old.


Coconut syrup

Christie and I are on a coconut kick right now. My neighbor gave me this recipe for coconut syrup and brought me some over, it is delicious. Here is the recipe 2 cubes of butter 2 cups of sugar 1 cup buttermilk add to medium saucepan and heat on medium heat until boiling. Boil for 2-3 minutes then remove from heat. Add t teaspoon of baking soda and 2 t coconut extract.


Feeding 11 year old boys

So Caleb had a small gathering for his birthday with 16 of his closest friends. He actually invited 21, but ONLY 16 came. I will say I was pleasantly surprised at how well behaved they all were, they said please and thank you and complimented me on the mint brownies. So anyway, I wanted to write down how much pizza etc, I bought so I could remember. No comments on having Little Caesars, but hey they are 11 and they don't care about gourmet pizza. So I bought 6 pizzas, 3 pepperoni and 3 cheese, 5 crazy bread and 4 liters of soda. There was 1 pizza left and 2 pieces of crazy bread. I bought 2 orange soda, 1 root beer and 1 cream soda. Cream soda was the favorite. The rest of my family was eating too and one of Zach's friends. In case you want a stomachache, they also ate 5 batches of popcorn and who knows how much candy. I also made a cookie sheet sized batch of mint brownies and there was 1/3 of those left.



1 C. Sugar
1 C. Water

Bring just to a boil, so the sugar is completely dissolved in the water.  Remove from heat.

1 C. Lemon Juice (from freshly squeezed lemons or from the bottle, may substitute all or part with lime juice)
4-5 C. Cold Water and Ice

Combine additional water and lemon juice with syrup.  Most of the ice will melt fairly quickly.  Taste and add additional water if it's too strong still or a little more lemon juice if it's too sweet.  Refrigerate and serve.

You can blend up and add fresh strawberries, mango, or other fruit or some sprigs of mint for a flavored lemonade.


Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is adapted from a recipe from a friend of mine. She makes her own crust and steams her veggies, I made it simpler with frozen veggies and a store bought crust. My kids love it. Filling: 2 cups of frozen peas and carrots onion 1 potato, peeled and chopped 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, boiled in salted water, then cubed 4 Tbsp. butter 5 Tbsp. flour 2 1/2 c. chicken broth 2/3 c. milk 1/2 tsp. salt dash pepper 1 egg, beaten I use dehydrated onions, but if using fresh you would probably want saute them in some butter in a pan. Cook potatoes in boiling water til tender. In a separate large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, remove from heat and add flour and whisk together until smooth. Add chicken broth and milk and continue stirring over high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for an additional minute or so until thick, then reduce heat to low. Add cooked chicken, frozen peas and carrots, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Lay dough in dish of choice. Spoon filling into dish. Cover with another layer of pie dough. Press edges together. Brush beaten egg on the dough of each pie. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until the top crust is light brown. For some reason this all ran together, but I don't have time to deal with it right now, so I will later.


Facebook Brownies

This recipe was making the rounds on Facebook.  I'm posting it here mainly so I can find it again easily rather than having to search through the Facebook archives for it.  I didn't make it as a mix.  I just mixed it all up at the same time.  It's a pretty thick batter, so if you sprinkle chocolate chips on top, they stay on top, unlike most box mixes where the chocolate (or, even better...mint) chips all sink to the bottom.  I did it in a pie pan, and it worked well in that.

Facebook Brownies

Never buy boxed brownie mix again! Follow the recipe below and make brownies for approximately .30 a mix! So simple, so easy. Not just frugal but cuts out the unknown ingredients.

1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Cocoa
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Powder

Put mix in plastic bags or mason jars.

At baking time add:

2 Eggs
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla

Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan.

It was a Pampered Chef rep who was circulating the recipe, so she recommended using the Pampered Chef brownie pan, which supposedly cooks faster.

Check after 12-15 minutes of baking and remove when brownies are done!


Dinner for 200

I was in charge of dinner for our ward Christmas party & need to record my notes on feeding dinner to 200 people in case I ever have to do it again.. Or in case this could be useful to someone else at some point.

The menu:
Roast beef
Mashed potatoes & gravy
Green beans
Cookies & punch

My notes:
Roast beef:  We ordered 4 cases (20lbs each) of precooked roast beef, figuring 1/3 lb of meat per person.  This amount was good.  We did have one foil pan of meat left, but I felt like we got this amount right.  The meat came frozen & we took it out and let it thaw the night before, put it in roaster pans (3 roasts per pan) & let it heat for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, sliced it with an electric knife & served in foil pans.

Mashed potatoes:  bought 3 cases of premade mashed potatoes, spread them in foil pans covered with foil & heated in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours & served them from the pans.  We had 1 pan left over.

Gravy:  bought 2 containers of brown gravy mix from Costco.  Each had 99 servings.  I only ended up making 1, but should have done both.  We came close to running out, but I mixed some of it with the juice from the roast beef so it would go farther.  This worked fine and there was enough.

Green beans:  bought bags of organic frozen green beans from Costco.  According to the package, each bag contained 25 servings.  I bought 7 bags.  We would have been fine with 5 or 6.  We boiled them and served them from foil pans.

Rolls:  ordered from the lion house.  18 dozen & we had a few dozen left over.  I would stick to this amount.

Salad:  the salad was made with spring greens, sliced pears, gorgonzola cheese, toasted pecans & a homemade vinegarette.  We plated & served the salads.  For 200 salads, we used nine 1 lb boxes of spring greens from Costco, 3 dozen pears ( they were big, so we only used 2 dozen), 2 lbs of pecans, toasted in the oven, and two 1.5 lb containers of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.  The dressing was as follows:
4 cups real maple syrup
2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups fresh lime juice(yes, I squeezed them by hand)
1 T + 1 t salt
1 T + 1 t pepper
Blend together.  This was plenty of dressing & we didn't use it all.  Just dress the salad right before serving.

Jello:  we assigned 10 people to bring their favorite jello.  This was enough & was mildly entertaining to see the jello creations.

Cookies:  assigned 12 people to bring 2 dozen cookies.  This was enough without having tons of excess cookies.  Wished there were more homemade cookies, but greatful that people were willing to help.

Punch:  2 parts cranapple juice mixed with 1 part sprite.  I bought 12 64 oz bottles of cranapple and 6 bottles of sprite + ice.  We were able to dump it directly int the drink dispensers, add ice & serve.  This amount was good.  We bought 8 bags of ice, which was also about right.  We also served water.  We had 2 drink dispensers with punch & 3 with water.


Lentil & Rice Pilaf with Yogurt Sauce

A recipe from my friend Wendy.  This has become a regular at our house- healthy, meatless & tasty.

Lentils & Rice

1 cup small french green or brown lentils (I've used both-- the green have a little better texture, but brown is just fine too)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 t minced garlic
3/4 cup long grain white rice
1 t salt
3/4 t cumin
1/2 t pepper

1-In a 3 qt sauce pan, bring lentils and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil.  Cover and let simmer until tender - about 20-25 minutes. Drain.

2-Meanwhile, add oil, onions and garlic to a 12 inch frying pan over medium heat.  Stir and cook until onions are golden.  Add rice, salt, cumin & pepper.  Stir until rice looks opaque- about 3 minutes.

3- Stir in drained lentils & 2 more cups of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover & simmer.  Stir occasionally until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  (Sometimes i have to add a little extra liquid to get the rice tender.  Serve with Yogurt Sauce

Yogurt Sauce
1 c plain lowfat yogurt
1/3 c finely chopped, seeded cucumber
1/4 t minced garlic
1/4 t dried mint
1/4 t pepper

Mix well & serve over lentils & rice.

You could serve this as a side dish with chicken or fish, but I serve it as a main dish, usually with some wheat toast and fruit.  Love the leftovers for lunch.