After being completely surprised w/a stand mixer from my parents as a house-warming gift (yay!), it just seemed like the time to start trying out recipes that I had been scared off by, bc they involved dough/bread.

I decided to start w/a recipe I found on Pinterest, one for homemade pretzel bites- and honestly, doesn’t the idea of making pretzels sound delicious?  I could eat bread all day, every day, so this was just perfect! 😉

Anyway, here we go- mixing the dough:

Then, let the dough rise for about an hr or so, just until it doubles:

After, divide the dough into 4 parts, and roll them out (I instantly thought of it like making playdough snakes when I was little!) into strips about 2-ft long.  Then, cut the strips into 1″ pieces:

Next, add the bits into a pot of boiling water and baking soda- boil for about…1o seconds?  Just enough for the bits to float.  Remove, add to a greased baking sheet, and coat w/egg wash.  Salt, and place into the oven at 425 for about 15 minutes.  (The recipe said 15-18, but at the 15-minute mark, I felt like mine were looking burned.)

And then…tada, pretzels bites!

Wow, these are so good, and so addicting, and well, I probably put on a few pounds after this experiment bc I couldn’t control myself.  So worth it!  🙂

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I realize that you don’t often think of having cranberry sauce at any time other than Thanksgiving, but…I decided to break the tradition, and have some in February!  Actually, I only thought of making it after seeing fresh cranberries at our CSA- I bought them for an apple cranberry crisp, but will probably make that another time now.   And, this was even a suggestion for my 2012 Challenge (thanks, Marjorie!)- one more reason to give it a try!

I saw this recipe from Pinterest, and it really looks fantastic- it’s only five ingredients, all of which I had already:  cranberries, brown sugar, white sugar, OJ, and rum.

Here goes- add everything into a saucepan, and cook on med-high for 15-20 minutes:

I used 16 oz, rather than 12 as in the recipe, so I just added in a bit more of each ingredient to balance it out.

Here we go!

(Wow, this smells so good as it’s cooking!)

Boiling and getting frothy

Nearly done- I started squashing the still whole berries to mash them in

This was really easy, and wow, after the first taste, it was also totally worth it!  What a great recipe!  I’m planning to use this tomorrow night w/a roast chicken- can’t wait!  Yum, how good does this look??

Tada!

I may even give up that canned gel cranberry sauce altogether after this…maybe. 🙂

 

Another fun project, courtesy of Pinterest! 🙂  This was the “silly” project I had in mind the other day, that I never got around to making, and honestly, it wasn’t nearly as tricky as I thought it’d be.

For starters, I used pre-made crust, which takes out all the usual pie-making nonsense.  Next, the pies are super-small, so the lattice work is really easy to do!

Anyway, the recipe in the link above is for caramel apple pies- I just made apple.  Cut up about two small apples, mix w/a little bit of sugar, some cinnamon, the smallest dash of nutmeg, and sprinkle w/lemon.  Tada!  Then, cut out circles for your pies (I used one of the kids snack containers bc it was bigger than a glass), and press it into a cupcake pan:

Press the dough into the pan, and add the apples:

Next up, the lattice work.  I made another circle in the dough, and then just cut tiny strips into it. Assemble the strips to cover the apples, and just weave them together:

A little egg wash, and then into the oven (350-degrees) for about 25 minutes.

All done- and, yum!  I only made one, as a tester, and now I’m off to make more!  So cute! 🙂

(Just be sure to really let it cool before trying to take it out of the pan- I lost a bit of the bottom by being too impatient!)

 

So, this wasn’t the “silly thing” I was planning to make (that’s going to be a bit more time-consuming), but I thought that the funny name of this drink would still work!

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and it’s not really a “recipe,” per se, but more of a…well, a list of stuff to toss into your water that will allegedly help aid weight loss (I’m guessing that’s just bc it’s encouraging you to drink water!).  Anyway, here goes:  add a medium cucumber (sliced), one lemon (sliced), and a few sprigs of mint, and let it steep overnight.

This is fantastic, and I’m not even a cucumber-fan!  It smells like lemons, but tastes cucumber-y, but not gross cucumber-y bc of the mint.  It’s delicious!

I recently joined Pinterest, and have been loving every second of it- it’s so fun!  Anyway, one of the first things I “pinned” was a recipe for authentic Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets…which I had to try, considering how much the kids love them.  And, as it turns out, the homemade version was extremely popular w/husbands, too! 😉

Anyway, on to the nuggets- cut up two boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces; “marinate” in a mix of one egg and one cup of milk for 2-4 hrs, to soften the chicken.  Then, dredge the chicken pieces in a mix of flour, powdered sugar, salt, and pepper, and fry in…2″ of peanut oil.  I didn’t do this- I really don’t ever wanna deep fry things for the kids, so I just poured some peanut oil in the pan, and fake-fried the nuggets that way.

I made our nuggets in two batches, and learned to use tongs to turn them only occasionally after the first batch lost most of their breading due to too much flipping w/a spatula.

When they’re finished, I put them on a plate w/a paper towel to absorb some of the extra oil:

I’d also made some homemade fries for our Super Bowl meal, but threw in some blueberries w/the finished products bc…our plates looked a little too fast food-ish!  😉

Anyway, these were really good, and E and I ate way too many.  They really did taste similar to Chick-fil-As, and I’m guessing it’s the powdered sugar- sounded weird to add to the breading mix, but that was totally the key ingredient.

The kids, however, choked them down (just barely), and said that Chick-fil-A had better ones. Can’t please everyone, I guess- even if you were trying to!  Still, if you have normal eaters in your house and not super-picky little people, you should definitely make these!