Cheesy Pretzels!

I am always looking for yummy, homemade healthy-ish snacks to make for my son. He loves all types of breads so I figured why not go ahead and try some soft pretzels and yum them up with some cheese:

I had a couple of people ask me for the recipe so here it goes. Now, these aren’t perfect yet. I needed to add more cheese – I ran out of time in the mixing because 1. our shredder sucks 2. I didn’t pre-shred the cheese early enough.

I took a soft pretzel recipe from FoodNetwork.com by Alton Brown and made some of my own changes. Here is the recipe from the website but I bolded the changes I made to it.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups (use 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose white)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt (I just used a bit more kosher salt since I didn’t want them to be too salty since my son is only 14 months)
  • Shredded Cheese – Medium Sharp Cheddar was my choice. Use whatever you want – I recommend about 2 cups for mixing with the dough and 1 cup for topping it.

Directions (from FoodNetwork.com)

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour,cheeseand butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope, cut again into several small pieces. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Make small tubes of the dough, you should get about 28-32 depending on size (I made mine just big enough for Miles to hold easily). Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and lightly sprinkle with the pretzel salt and shredded cheese. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

I put about half of these in the freezer but you may not have to because they get eaten pretty quickly.

These are about 100 calories each.

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FOOD!!

So, my sons first birthday is right around the corner and I am going crazy with ideas for food. We are having a small gathering of family and some friends. Mostly finger foods. My dad is going to be bringing a turkey up – shredded that we will use for sandwiches. But its the snacks… we will be doing a lot of cooking and in fact I probably should start making a lot of the items this weekend. We have cupcakes and the cake. The cupcakes need a dry run though. Need to make sure I have it all down before I make them for the party.

Then we have some pizza sticks we are making. Miles loves pizza crust so we are going to make this sticks of the dough but making a few versions. One we will mix in cheese, then in another we will mix in carrots and zucchini, maybe another will have a sweet additive or cinnamon. He loves cinnamon.

For the sweet tooth – candies! I am making Mickey Mouse lollipops with red, white and dark chocolate. But I thought it would be fun to make some Pretzel Wands. Basically the larger pretzel sticks (take off some of the salt) then dip in chocolate and then dip in different color sprinkles.

As you can see from the list – there are some items that I can definitely make this weekend and store in the freezer for the party.

We will also be making cookies… probably just chocolate chip. I want to make more but also limited time. With family coming in we have a lot of things to do while everyone is here and the day of the party we are also having my son and niece’s baptism in the middle of the day. My husband and I have this really bad habit of doing as much as possible in a short period of time.

Time to run… someone just fell onto one of his toys. At least not blood just a boo-boo.

Fall Muffins

Okay, I will say these aren’t oh yummy yummy like blueberry muffins. They are not overly sweet, or sweet at all when you first eat them but they have a flavourful after taste. I made this recipe up today because I was bored and felt like I would share and I named them “Fall Muffins” because the flavor reminds me of the fall…

p.s. if you don’t like them – not my responsibility. I made em, I like em… I posted the recipe… please note there is a splenda aftertaste… but that happens when ever you bake with splenda I have found but its not horrible.

I would suggest trying these with some butter if you want on them, while warm, or a bit of Apple Butter.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup – Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 tsp – baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp – baking soda
  • 2 tsp – cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup – crushed almonds
  • 3/4 cup – splenda
  • 1/2 cup – Quaker Instant Oats
  • 1/2 Cup – Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (I used EAS which is about 120cals a scoop, any other may add calories so just be aware)
  • 1 or 2 pinches of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup – Reduced 2% Fat Milk
  • 1/4 Cup of Orange Juice (used Simply Orange)
  • 1 Large Egg Beaten
  • 1/2 tbsp – vanilla extract, pure
  • 2 tbsp  – I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter, Light Melted or Margarine of Choice (please note that if you go with something different, the cals may be different. ICBINB Light has 50 cals per tablespoon)

Fruit Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple – cubed (I used a medium Gala) and peeled
  • 1 Small Banana Mashed

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place about 20 – 35 almonds into a large bag, with a mallet or something, crush them into small broken almond bits.

Mix the dry ingredients by hang in a large mixing bowl. Put to the side.

In another container pour the orange juice and milk in together. Beat egg in a bowl then pour into the milk & orange juice. Keep the melted margainine to the side in a seperate bowl.

Pour the orange juice/milk/egg mixture in with the dry ingredients and stir by hand until well mixed. It will be lumpy but that is okay!

Pour the melted butter and fold into the mixture.

Add the cubed apple and fold into the mixture.

Add the mashed banana and fold into the mixture.

Mix by hand all the ingredients until you can tell everything is well mixed. It will look kinda of dry when mixed: Add about a dash more of the orange juice and the milk then stir only a few more times.

In a muffin pan, line with muffin/cupcake liners then fill with two large spoonfuls of the mixture into the liners. This will bring the mixture to the top. If you have some left over after filling it – just add a bit more to each one until you have no more left. It will look like below.

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Place into the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until you stick a tooth pick in and it comes clean.

This is your final product:

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Nutritional Information (estimated)

84g per serving

Calories: 175
Fat: 3.75g / Saturated Fat – .75g
Sodium: 114.75mg
Carbohydrates: 24.25g / Fiber 2.75g / Sugar 10.83mg
Protein: 7.5g

Spinach Breakfast Sandwich

Made a really yummy breakfast this morning, thought I would share it with you:

Spinach Breakfast Sandwich

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Ingredients
1 – 7-Organic Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Flourless English Muffins – English Muffins (160cals)
1 – Wedge Light Swiss Original (35cal)
1 – large egg (70cal) – use the whole egg not just whites for the additional nutrients
1 – slice of smoked turkey breast (est 20cal)
few leafs of pre-steamed spinach (est 8cal)

Directions

slice and toast muffin, while this is toasting… cut or shred the slice of turkey breast and sautee slightly in pan with Pam. Crack one large egg into the pan and scramble (I don’t scramble in a bowl and then pour, cause I don’t like to add water or milk to my scrambled eggs). Once the egg is scrambled and cooked, place spinach (I used pre-steamed spinach because it helps with the next step) and place on top of your scrambled egg. Place a pot cover over the pan and turn off the heat. Allow the egg/spinach to heat up with the steam while you take your muffin out of the toaster over. Spead half of the cheese wedge on the bottom portion and the other half on the top portion. Take egg out of the pan and place on the muffin then finish with the top being put on.

Enjoy!

Its really yummy.

Nutritional information: Grade B+ on caloriecount.about.com

Est. Total Cals: 293
Fat – 26.2% (9 grams)
Protein – 26.5% (20 grams)
Carbohydrates – 47.3% (36 grams)
Sodium – 774 mg
Sugar – 1 grams
Cholesteral – 232 mg
S. Fat – 3 grams
Fiber – 7 grams

est. time to cook – 6 – 7mins

Blue-Dew Protein Shake

So, messing around in the kitchen tonight and craving some ice cream. Unfortunatly, eating ice cream is not the best thing for a diet. Instead I decided to see what would happen if I did a shake with a melon and milk. Hey, it was worth a try and I was the only one who was going to drink it. Luckily, I really liked how it turned out. Now I am lactose intolerant but I can take some dairy in my diet each day – lucky me since I love dairy.

Blue-Dew Shake – put the following in a blender or large cup since its about 16 – 24 ounces

  • 8 oz/1 glass of milk – I prefer fat free, but use whatever you want. If you are lactose intolerant try it with your milk alternative.
  • About 1/2 – 1 cup of Honeydew Melon
  • 2 hand fulls of blueberries – washed
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of crushed ice (I find crushed blends slightly better then a cube of ice)
  • 1 scoop of your preferred protein powder (still using a vanilla flavored Pro Her 5)
  • 1 spoon of fat free yogurt

If you are doing this in a blender – low setting to mix for 30 seconds, then cream for another 30 then whip. Pour into a large cup. If you are using a hand held, just blend it and drink.

What I really liked about this drink was that it had the texture of a milkshake due to the honeydew melon and the crushed ice but was a slight bit less calorie wise. The entire drink was between 335 – 367 calories, depending on how much honeydew you use and it could be more or less depending on the protein powder you use. Mine has 130 calories per scoop. But it turned out really yummy and defiantly staved off the craving for ice cream and was a nice dessert. It does have a fun blue tint to it due to the blueberries, which makes it fun. Doesn’t it?

Nutritional fun facts – I got this from the free online calorie calculator site I use: Calorie Count:

Fat – 1.1% (0 grams)
Protein – 23.5% (20 grams)
Carbohydrates – 49.2% (41 grams)
Alcohol – 0.0%
Other – 26.2%

Daily Sodium Intake – 174 mg
Daily Sugar Intake – 25 grams
Daily Cholesterol Intake – 11 mg
Daily Fiber Intake – 4 grams

Now, health wise I would say this is pretty good. According to Calorie Count this is an A grade of an item. So, yummy and healthy?! Sounds great to me. But there are some other nutritional facts.

Blueberries – from blueberry.org
Antioxidants are thought to help protect the body against the damaging effects of free radicals and the chronic diseases associated with the aging process. Fresh fruits, including blueberries, and vegetables contain many of these naturally occurring antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E. Blueberries contain 14 mg of Vitamin C and 0.8 mg Vitamin E per 1 cup of blueberries. In addition, blueberries contain anthocyanins and phenolics that can also act as antioxidants. Based on data from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (Boston, MA), blueberries are among the fruits with the highest antioxidant activity. Using a test called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), researchers have shown that a serving of fresh blueberries provides more antioxidant activity than many other fresh fruits and vegetables.

And berries are great at helping getting rid of belly fat – another plus.

As for the honeydew melon – extremely high in Vitamin C and a good amount of potassium which will help counter act a high salt diet or if you had too much due to frozen meals during the day.

If you get a chance to try it, please do and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Orange-Mango Smoothie

Each morning I start my day with a protein shake/smoothie for breakfast. I need the protein due to the amount I am working out and well, its good for your body. Instead of stopping at the store to buy one, I started a few weeks ago using fresh fruits and juice to make my own. Not long after that I started adding fat-free yogurt for the calcium and the fact that yogurt is good for your digestion. I normally drink this when I have my morning multi-vitamn.

I had this for breakfast this morning and really liked it so, figured I would share it with you. Its pretty dang yummy.

Orange-Mando Smoothie

  • 1 cup of Orange Juice (Tropicana No Pulp, Calcium & Vitamin D)
  • 1 Scoop of Protien Powder (your choice, I use ProHer 5)
  • 1/2 Cup Mango (I like the skin on)
  • 1/3 Cup of Fat Free Plain Yogurt
  • 1 Capful of Aloe Juice

Put everything together in a blender and mix for 45 seconds. Pour into glass.

Its quite a yummy way to start your day. 😀 Enjoy!! This drink is around 317 calories depending on what you use and if you change the amount.

I will have more recipes coming in the future. I usually mess around with foods but I figured I would start posting the ones I am really enjoying making.