Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

"happiness is a warm blanket"

i have a little linus.
every night at bed time, we take jude upstairs and get him ready for "night, night."
he loves going up the stairs by himself (with mommy or daddy right behind him, hands extended).
he gets his diaper changed and brushes his teeth like a big boy.
then, comes his favorite part.
the blanket.
while i'm holding him i pick up his blanket from the crib and give it to him.
 he gets so excited!
he loves his blanket.
he burries his face, inhales, and lets out a profound, deep sigh, as if to say, "everything is ok now."
he loves his blankie.

"this blanket is a necessity. it keeps me from cracking up."
- linus van pelt from a boy named charlie brown
linus picture via

he was wearing his blanket around his neck like this one day after his nap...we had to capture it on film!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

beer cheese soup

during these cold winter days, i love soups! they're all warm and soupy. the mr. used to live in germany for a little while, and he loved the beer cheese soup he used to have at a restaurant called europa. so, i attempted to make some for him. boy, am i glad i did. i've never received as much praise for a soup as i did for this one. it was de.e.lish! he really liked it! and, to make it even more special, i made my homemade soft pretzels to go along with the soup. they were so yummy dipped in the soup. hope you enjoy.

beer cheese soup

what you need:
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons butter
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cup beer (i used fat tire)
8 oz extra sharp cheddar, shredded
8 oz medium cheddar, shredded
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water


what you do:
1. melt butter in a pan. add garlic, onion powder, and carrots. saute carrots until soft.
2. put the entire mixture from the pan into a blender (or food processor) and puree.
3. in large pot over medium heat, add chicken broth and pureed carrots. whisk together.
4. add beer, cheeses, thyme and paprika.
5. reduce heat to low and whisk in milk
6. in a separate bowl, mix cornstarch and water. add to the soup mixture.
7.  raise temperature to medium and stir until cheese melts and soup thickens.
(this step took a little while for me because the cheese took a long time to melt and mix with the other ingredients...so, don't panic if it takes a little while, just keep stirring. you can raise the temperature a little if you want to.)
8. ladle into bowls and serve with the homemade soft pretzels. 


i'm linking up with:

Monday, February 7, 2011

miscellany monday

i'm linking up today with carissa over at lowercase letters for miscellany monday...


1. the other day, i went to the grocery store and bought a gallon of organic milk, a loaf of bread, and a dozen large eggs...guess how much it cost...go ahead, take a guess...
$9.45
and that was with a coupon for the eggs. $9.45!  i couldn't believe it!  i normally buy all of my groceries for a week or two, so i'd never really bought those three items alone.
 i was curious, so i googled how much those 3 items (well, not organice milk, just regular) would've cost when i was born (1982) and the total would've been around $3.90.   i can't imagine how much they will cost when my little one is my age. 


2. i think i'm in trouble. he found the xbox controller.
i think daddy has some competition.

3. i definitely think i'm in trouble...jude started climbing this week. he likes to climb on top of his mega blocks container. that's how it started...he climbed on top of that...which was next to the coffee table...i'm sure you can fill in the rest of the story...we look over and he's on top of the coffee table...definitely trouble.

4. the hubs and i decided that the day after the superbowl should be a holiday. who can stay up that late and function properly the next day? maybe it's just us and we're getting old...i was in bed by 8:30 the other night...

5. since when did my baby become a little boy. i feel like we completely skipped the cute, chunky baby stage. he's growing up way to fast!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

pointer finger

i really have a hard time photographing my very busy, interested little boy. 
a lot of pictures now turn out like this...
notice the pointer finger is already out in the first picture. he pretty much just walks around with it out, ready to point at everything he sees! today, it was the lens.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

soft pretzels

today's recipe takes me back to high school.{rachel, this one's for you ;)}
my second job was at the pretzel twister in the mall (my 1st job ever was at baskin robbins...i'm noticing a trend of fattening goodies). i used to eat 2 every time i worked...yes, i said 2...one plain, no butter or salt, just the deliciousness of the sweet dough with a strawberry cream cheese or a tomato sauce, and one with either the fattening butter and salt or cinnamon sugar. that would be my lunch or dinner, depending upon what time of the day i worked...normally it was dinner except on the weekends when i could work during the day. the best part was that they were free! free pretzels every time i worked! the sad part is that the recipe was and still is a secret. the mix came pre-packaged to us and all we added was the yeast and water...
i've tried googling it...it's no where to be found! so, i've made a few different recipes to try and replicate the wonderful goodness that is called "soft pretzel"...this is the closest i've come to it so far...i hope you enjoy...i know we do...


soft pretzels
(adapted from buttery soft pretzels on allrecipes.com)
makes 4 pretzels
( i use a standing mixer to do this, however there are other recipes that use a hand held mixer or a bread maker)


what you need:
1-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon white sugar
1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon warm water

1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons white sugar
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons baking soda
1cup hot water

for topping:
butter
coarse sea salt
(or whatever you want to top these babies with)

what you do with all of it:  
1. mix yeast, sugar, and water (1st 3 ingredients) in a small bowl and set aside until mixture is creamy...about 10 minutes.
 
2. mix flour, sugars, and salt (next 4 ingredients) in a standing mixer. add, the oil and yeast mixture. mix it all together until a soft dough forms. (you may need to add a tablespoon or two of water if the mix is too dry, but you don't want your dough too wet).

3.  using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough until smooth. (if you do this by hand, about 7 or 8 minutes until smooth will do).

4. spray a large bowl with cooking spray and put the ball of dough in it. spray the dough as well on all sides. cover and put in a warm place to rise. it needs to double in size, which takes about an hour or more. (i usually dampen a kitchen towel and cover the bowl and then stick it in the oven (the oven is off) for about 2 hours or more...until i'm ready to make them)

4. right before you start the next step, preheat oven to 450 degrees. mix baking soda and water in a shallow pan. put parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. (if you don't want to use parchment paper, grease the cookie sheet).

5. once the dough has doubled, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. cut 4 equal strips with a pizza cutter. roll out dough to make it longer (this determines how big it be) and shape into a pretzel.

6. dip the tops of the pretzels into the baking soda water (this is what makes them brown...otherwise they would be the color of the dough...it doesn't change the taste, so if you skip this step, it's ok, they will just look weird) and place that side up onto cookie sheet. bake for about 8 minutes, or until browned.

7. butter pretzels while hot and sprinkle with salt (or top with whatever your heart desires)
these are best when served fresh from the oven, but you can store them in the fridge and reheat it in the oven.  the microwave makes them chewy. i'm not sure how long they will keep (i don't think they'll last that long anyways...they're de.lish!) they are also great with dipping sauces like mustard, cheese, or caramel.

bon appetit!