Sharesix – Kitchen

The kitchen has a very special place in my heart, I was so excited that this months theme was “Kitchen”. My head was just buzzing around with all the ideas I had. But this month truly got the best of me. So I decided I am keeping it real and just sharing a few shots from our kitchen renovation. It has been a long and grueling process. We started this whole home renovation in 2014. We completely gutted the kitchen, all the way down to the bare bones. Just walls and concrete floors. You can see the makeshift kitchen I used for seven months HERE. I am not entirely sure how I survived it feeding a family of seven but I did. (Pats self on back.)

When we first discussed downsizing and moving into our investment home, I had one condition… the kitchen needed to be remodeled. Ok, need is a strong word, but it was poorly designed and lacked a lot cabinet space. At first we thought we’d be able to get the remodeling done prior to moving in. That thought came and went fast, we had a hard time getting our home sold. We then decided to move in during construction. Something I do not recommend. I spend most of my time in the kitchen because I love to cook. So cooking (and living) in a construction zone is quite challenging. When I started designing my kitchen I knew I wanted white cabinets. I wanted the space to feel bright and airy. Since the original kitchen didn’t have a window, installing ours above the sink really made a huge difference.

Let me tell you why the kitchen is my favorite place to be. Food is my daily therapy. Not in an eating disorder way or anything, but the flavors and variety of food really help me deal with life. (Yea and wine definitely helps me cope too.) It’s a creative therapy, I love to find new spices or ingredients and try something I’ve never tried before. Cooking is how I connect with people. If you’ve come to my house, I probably force fed you. I just can’t help it. The kitchen is where I bond with my family and friends. Where every one congregates when we have company, where we laugh, share meals and swap life stories. Its where I appreciate the circle of life in terms of food. Its my safe place. I can fail in there and know that I’ll be right back in there the next day. The kitchen is the heartbeat of my home.

Once the kitchen is all finished I plan to share more of my favorite recipes.

Finally we are starting to see the light at the end of this remodeling tunnel! Here are some shots of the kitchen progress. It’s still not done, there is a cabinet that needs to be replaced, we need base boards, and still need a backsplash. But we did just have the concrete stained grey, a temporary fix to the ugly concrete floors you see in these photos. I’ll save those photos for the final reveal. Hopefully I can find some before pictures to share as well. Before you leave be sure to jump on over to Woodsy Wonders Photography and see her awesome images from this months theme.

2016 hansencompound kitchen remodel

hansen compound kitchen remodel

hansencompound remodel

2016 hansencompound remodel

hansen compound remodel

And this cute little area is reserved for our #hansencompound quotes. This one reads “Fair is where you go to eat cotton candy and get your face painted”. A life lesson my kids all learned early on. We don’t say things like “life’s not fair”.

#hansencompound quotes

Letter board / LetterFolk
Cabinets / Burdette Cabinet CO
Appliances / Spencers
Need a handyman? Highly recommend AZ’s Best HandyMan

DIY Fresh Tomato Marinara

So yesterday’s post was all about the pickles. Todays Taste of Paradise overstock situation is tomatoes. This is another first time recipe for me. One that I will likely continue to work with. But for now, I am pretty pleased with the taste! Pleased enough to share with you all.

Ok, before you decide to take on this project, let me first tell you, it’s both time consuming and messy. BUT it’s worth it in taste and health factor. Plus, sometimes it just feels good to make something from scratch. And if you really have A LOT of tomatoes you can freeze some in bags or jars for later. Or you could can them yourself. One of these days, I will cover canning. But today’s not that day.

I had about 9 medium-large tomatoes. To get started, I washed and cut an X into the bottom of each tomato. I boiled a large pot of water, once the water was boiling I added my tomatoes and let them continue to boil for about 5 minutes. You’ll want to blanch them to make it super easy to skin these little suckers. So as soon as your five minutes is up, throw those little red gems into an ice bath. I tossed them in just long enough to handle them without burning my hands. Probably like 10-20 seconds. The skin should come off really easy. A few of my tomatoes weren’t fully submerged so some took a little extra TLC to peel.

Once you’ve peeled them, you’re ready for the next step. Deseeding the maters. This was the part I found to be extremely messy, and I can’t really think of a less sloppy way to handle this. I am sure there is, and if you know it… do share in the comments! What I did was cut them in quarters and pulled the seeds and juicy pulp out with my hands. There was tomato guts ever where in my kitchen, it looked like a fresh scene from Season One of The Walking Dead. I feel like if I would have used a spoon, it would have been more like a scene straight out of Dexter.

Lets get back on track here. Less sloppy talk, more cookin!

Ingredients:

  • 8-9 large tomatoes
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsps. Italian season
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp of chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • 1 small yellow pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a handful of fresh basil

Sautee diced yellow pepper until tender, add minced garlic and cook until its golden. Be sure to stay close and not burn it. Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine your skinned/deseeded tomatoes and yellow pepper and garlic. Add all your other dry ingredients. Blend on chop or liquify. Add in your tomato paste. This is really a personal preference, add as much paste as your want to achieve your desired consistency. Blend again, then add in your fresh basil. I transferred to a jar right away, because I didn’t plan to use it right away.

Reheat in a sauce pan, salt and pepper to taste! Serve in any pasta dish. If you add a bit more paste, this would make a wonderful pizza sauce as well!

Bread and Butter Chip Pickles

bread and butter pickles

Easy Bread and Butter Chip Pickles Recipe

Every summer I like to make bread and butter chip pickles. They are about the only pickles I actually like. Most of the years I have made them, I have grown our cucumbers. I rarely ever buy cucumbers at the store, they are always so waxy. For the past year, I have been picking up farm fresh veggies from a local company called Taste of Paradise. They are a weekly CSA that also offers one time pick up’s. That is pretty unique for a CSA. My “one time pick ups” have turned into a weekly order of two family size bags. They release their veggie list a week out, so this really helps me plan my weekly meals. The real bonus of course is that fact that the produce is so much better than what we find in our local grocery stores.

Sometimes, because I am picking up such a large quantity of vegetables, I end up with some excess that we really don’t eat on the regular. In this instance, I ended up with a lot of cucumbers. Since our move last October, we don’t quite have the garden size we are used to. And we aren’t growing any cucumbers. SO duh, there’s only one thing I would do with all the extra cucumbers. Make pickles!

Here is my EASY Bread and Butter Chip Pickle recipe. Anyone can make them. Anyone.

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 Large cucumbers
  • 1 tsp pickling salt
  • 2  cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • 3 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of celery seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

Start our by slicing your cucumbers evenly. I use a mandolin and cut them on the largest setting. I feel like it keeps them crunchy. Add your pickling salt and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

After your cucumbers have had time to chill, combine your other ingredients in a large pot. Bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling add your cucumber slices and bring it back to a boil. I usually let them boil for about 5 minutes and remove from heat. Have your jars ready. I pack my jars as full as possible with cucumber, let them rest and pack them some more.BBChipPickles

I also like to add fresh garlic cloves before sealing my jars. And I have been known a time or two to stuff in a fresh serrano pepper. That brings on some heat, so if you do that, do it with caution.

BBPicklesDIY

In this pickling, I didn’t seal my jars with a pressure cooker, because it wasn’t a huge batch. They will last in your fridge for a few months. And we eat them fast enough that I’m not at all worried about them going bad.

BreadandButterchippicklesDIY

I have also used this same liquid recipe to pickle red bell peppers, and when adding a serrano chili to that is amazing! I’d love to know what you like to pickle! Let me know in the comments.

Creamy Garlic Mushroom Recipe

Easy creamy garlic mushroom recipe. So I made these the other day for the first time. I had a few bags of mushrooms and wanted to try something new. I found a recipe on pinterest by Damn Delicious. I never seem to have exactly what I need when trying out new recipes, but am pretty good at substitutions. (Or at least I think I am.)

Seriously, this maybe one of my new “go to” mushroom recipes. I think it can be so versatile. I served them over egg wide noodles and added some chicken. That’s what I like to call a “one hit wonder” – that’s a meal that has a veggie, a meat, and something to make complete, like a thigh fattening carb.

Here’s my take on this creamy garlic mushroom recipe.

Ingredients:

  • a bunch of mushrooms – two cartons
  • 6-7 large cloves of garlic (um, I don’t believe they can be too garlicy)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 3 tsp corn starch
  • 4 tbps butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: wash your mushrooms.

Step 2: mince your garlic

Step 3: add mushrooms, garlic, bay leaves, seasons, and chicken stock to your crock pot. Cook on low for about 2 hours.

Step 4: after your mushrooms have cooked for a few hours, take about 3/4 cup of broth from your crock pot and add in your corn starch. Whisk starch until completely dissolved, add back into your crockpot. At this point, add your half and half and butter.

Step 5: Optional, I added chicken as you can see pictured. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh parsley or basil. The mushrooms had such a great flavor. They would also be great over rice, mashed potatoes, or even a steak!

DIY Easy Gummy Bears

This DIY easy gummy bears recipe is so easy a kid could do it. (As featured here) I found an awesome YouTube video last week and knew I needed to try this out. Sometimes when I see things and think, hey now… I can do that, I end up being the butt of the joke. What seems like an easy project ends up being like I really needed to possess the skills and steady hands of a heart surgeon. Well, luckily for all us DIY parents, this was not one of those projects. This was so simple, my five year old did most of the work today as we made our second batch.

DIY Easy Gummy Bears

The ingredients are simple.
Some silicone molds
2 Gelatin packets
1 small package of flavored Jello
1/4 cup of light corn syrup
1/2 cup COLD water

I had to share the picture of my son’s hand. It was just too cute. Imagine little ole me, standing on a table chair trying to get all my ingredients perfectly in frame for the picture then my photo bombing son with his booger picking finger sliding in at the very last second to shout as loud as possible “mom, what’s this?!?!?” . And no, my son is too much of a germaphobe to actually pick his nose.

Mixing the corn syrup with water

To get started combine your corn syrup with your cold water. Really make sure your water is cold, it makes a difference in your later steps.

Add jello and gelatin

Once all your corn syrup is completely dissolved in your cold water, pour it into a sauce pan. Do not turn the heat on at this point.

completely dissolve before heating

With your burner OFF, add your dry ingredients, your small package of jello and your two packets of gelatin, and mix well. The cold water helps the gelatin dissolve. Once its looking clear, go ahead and turn your burner on medium to medium low. I have a gas stove top so I needed to keep mine on medium low because my burners get really hot.

Poor into seperate container

You will heat your gummy mixture for about 5-10 minutes, I waited until I saw tiny pre-boiling bubbles.

put into squeeze bottle

Once it hit that “pre-boiling” point I transferred my gummy mixture to a separate container. This is what separates the girls from the women. As the gummy solution starts to cool, the bubbles and any foam that came from your mixture rises to the top. After about 15 minute’s you can scrape off the pleasantries for a perfectly clear gummy solution. You could just go straight to the molds but the foam will end up being on the backs of your chewy candies. Thus raising questions like, “mommy, why it there nasty squish on my gummies??” or “mom, I have to eat my gummies rear first so no one see’s this foamy madness…”.

Once you have a semi cooled gummy solution, for best molding results, pour into a condiment bottle. I picked up a few at Walmart for .97 cents each. They make it so much easier to get the solution into your molds without over filling or spilling everywhere.

let molds sit for 5 hours

Once you have them in the molds, let them sit for at least 5 hours. And if you have the patience, just let them sit over night. If you unmold them too soon, they are quite tacky and stick to your hands like crazy. Washing your hands off frequently helps, but its super annoying.

cute diy easy gummy bears

Here are some shots of our awesomely fun easy DIY gummy bears and lego guys.

I bought my molds off amazon. Here are the links.
Gummy bear trays
Lego Guys

I have these molds on the way because I’m just having too much fun making these.
Star Wars Ball
Star Wars Trays
Lego Building Blocks

Here is the youtube video I saw that inspired all of this.

Eggplant (Meatless) Meatballs

Delicious Eggplant Meatballs

Delicious Eggplant MeatballsEggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. There was a questionnaire going around on facebook not long ago, encouraging you to ask a series of questions to your children about their mother. One of those questions was “What’s mom’s favorite food”, and one of my kids lit up like an idea bulb and said, “I know, Eggplant”. It’s true, and if you follow me on social media, its a known fact. I have often posted pictures of eggplant dishes I have made, and I am always on the hunt for new ways to make it. In case you didn’t know, there are at least 14 varieties of Eggplant. There’s possibly more, those are the ones that I know of.

In my garden I have both white eggplant and Chinese eggplant.
In my garden I have both white eggplant and Chinese eggplant.

The American eggplant most commonly sold in grocery stores are one of the bitterest as well. Odd isn’t it? There are other types that I have grown (literally and figuratively) to love. Those include Thai eggplant and Chinese eggplant. I have also grown American and white eggplant in my garden. I found that I love the sweetness of white eggplant, but the skin is incredibly tough. This year my Chinese eggplant has really done well. A little too well, as I have this abundance of eggplant and sometimes we just don’t eat it fast enough. I’d give it away, but people don’t exactly line up for eggplant. (Ahem, if you are a local friend and you want some, let me know, I’ll share)

Today, like most days, I look down at my watch and realize I’m starving because I haven’t eaten anything all day and it’s already 2pm. And like most days, I go to the fridge hoping that magically something new has appeared and I will rejoice in its flavorful delights. That part never happens. But hey, I am ever so hopeful. Upon todays cold box wishing I sighed at the ugly eggplant that was starting to wilt because; a) I like my fridge icy cold, b) its been in there awhile. Still eatable, just doesn’t look as pretty as it does the day I pick it. I tend to pick them early when the plant is young. It helps the overall production of fruit.

My sad little eggplant when its been over chilled and over stored in my fridge.
My sad little eggplant when its been over chilled and over stored in my fridge.

I proceeded to do what most people do in this “what do I eat” madness…. I went to pinterest. My first thought was that I was going to make some sort of burger out of this sad looking eggplant. Then I stumbled across this eggplant meatball recipe by Skinny Taste, and well I was intrigued. As I started pulling things out to make it I realized I didn’t have everything this particular recipe called for, but don’t worry… I am full of ambition and made some minor life altering decisions. No body died so its good.

Let’s get started on what you’ll need.

Ingredients
1.5 lbs of any variety of eggplant you prefer, I used Chinese eggplant.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 parm cheese
3 whole garlic cloves
2 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp. of parsley flakes
1 tsp salt
few dashes of pepper
1 beaten egg

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Step 1. Dice your eggplant into small bite size pieces. Combine eggplant bites with olive oil, whole garlic cloves, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp. of parsley flakes and mix. Take a cookie sheet and spray it with cooking spray. Then toss your bites onto the sheet. Place in your preheated oven and bake until tender, mine took about 20 minutes.

Eggplant meatballs

Step 2. While your bites are roasting in the oven, cook your quinoa per package directions. Its typically a 1:2 ratio, so for half a cup of quinoa you’ll need to boil 1 cup of water. I added a little butter to my quinoa, just out of habit I suppose.

Step 3. Once your bites are done you will need to chop them up in a food processor or blender. You don’t want them to become too mushy. So pulse them to keep them somewhat coarse. Using the same bowl you seasoned your eggplant bites, add the chopped up slightly mushy bites with the cooked quinoa, beaten egg and the remaining ingredients. Make sure everything is evenly mixed.

Step 4. Re-spray your cookie sheet and roll out your eggplant (meatless) meatballs into approximately 2 inches wide balls. Return to oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Vegetarian eggplant meatballs

I wasn’t really sure how these were going to taste, but they were amazing! Amazeballs if you will. I plan to make these again and again. The originally recipe called for white beans and whole wheat bread crumbs. Since I used quinoa and almond flour instead, they had a bit of crunchy to them. I do plan to try it with bread crumbs and white beans. I almost used chick peas, but didn’t want to bother with shelling them. If you are a vegetarian you can of course omit the egg or substitute with flax seed.

So tasty!
So tasty!

I loved them. Also, they have been kid tested and kid approved. That’s a win in my book.

Grandma's fried yellow squash

Seriously, this is one of my all time favorite summer side dishes. I learned to make this at a very young age, helping my grandmother in the kitchen. Like my grandma, I tend to just throw stuff in and hope it works out. I very rarely measure things while I am cooking so I will do the best I can to guestimate these measurements. This dish has also become a family favorite, and summer tradition. We garden here, and usually try and grow our own squash. This summer was exceptionally hot and my squash plants didn’t make it. Thank the gods for farmers markets! This time around, as I was making this tutorial, my niece was over and she got to learn the process as well. I hope to continue to pass this easy recipe down the family line. Because, well, it’s just that good.

Grandmas fried yellow squaash

There are very few things you need to make this easy side dish, most of which you likely already have on hand. So here is my Grandma’s fried yellow squash recipe. Let me know if you make it and how it turned out!

Ingredients:
1 cup of Yellow corn meal
1/2 cup All purpose flour
2 tsp Salt
few dashes of Pepper
2 Eggs
3-4 tablespoons Olive or Vegetable oil
4 tbsp Unsalted butter

beat eggs

Step 1: Beat those eggs in a bowl like you mean it.
Step 2: Slice up your squash like you really mean it.

add sliced squash to egg

Step 3: Add your sliced squash to your egg mixture, making sure each slice has a nice little egg bath and set aside. (You can do that one like you just don’t care.)

pour yellow corn meal in bowl

Step 4: Combine your dry ingredients well in a separate bowl, and smile for the camera.

add flour, salt, and pepper to corn meal

coat wgg covered squash with dry mixture

Step 5: Heat your skillet and add your oil. I used olive oil this time, but I normally like to use vegetable oil because it doesn’t burn as quickly as olive oil does. If your olive oil gets to toasty, it effects the flavor. Not that anyone would complain, but when it happens to me, its hard not to finish my meal without some serious stink eye at the plate. (Hashtag megafoodsnob)

add butter cover and brown

Step 6: Add your butter to the top of your squash and cover, checking every few minutes. As it starts to brown you’ll turn it carefully. I say carefully because my flipping skills are somewhat over aggressive causing squash to fly all over the kitchen…. Notice that I did this outside? That’s preventative measures in action. Also, sometimes it does get smoky from the olive oil.

Grandma's fried yellow squash is a perfect summer side dish

Serve right away, I usually add a tad more salt, basically to offset how genuinely sweet I already am… Just kidding, my family loves salt. (Hashtag goiterfreefamily)

Like I mentioned earlier, this is a recipe I got from my grams as a young girl. Some things she did wildly different than me. She used a paper grocery bag to mix her dry ingredients, then it always got nice and sloppy when she added the squash covered in egg. She would shake it violently and masterfully because each squash came out perfectly coated. She also used what seemed like a pound of butter. I tried that method early on in my marriage and the bag busted, and well, I never tried that again.

Hope you enjoyed this recipe and picture tutorial! If you have a similar recipe leave it in the comments! Or if you give this a try let me know what you think!

Photo Credit: Braden Hansen & Jill Hansen

DIY Salted Caramel Creamer

This is a super simple DIY creamer. I found this on pinterest not to long ago, and have now decided we never need to buy coffee creamers again! Here is the recipe for my DIY Salted Caramel Creamer.

Let’s get started…
Ingredients:
1 – 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 Cup of half and half
3/4 Cup of whole milk
3 tbsp. of caramel sauce
1/2 tsp of sea salt

Ingredients for caramel creamer

Step 1: Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl.
Step 2: Mix well

Simple DIY caramel creamer

Annnnnd, basically that’s it. See, I told you it was easy!

You really want to be sure you get the caramel mixed in as well as possible. Otherwise it will sink to the bottom. You can of course shake it before you pour it into your coffee. Also, you don’t have to use whole milk. That’s just what we always have. And if you are dairy free, just substitute the milks for whatever you choose. Almond milk is a great substitute, or soy milk, or even rice milk.

Easy DIY Caramel Creamer

For a easy DIY Vanilla creamer, use 2 tsp of vanilla extract in place of the caramel and salt. I hope you enjoy!

Kid friendly tuna rolls

So I’m over here all, “This year, I’m upping the school lunch game.” and I’ve got the kids all on board. But let me first state that having tons of kids has a few advantages, like slavery, child labor and any other hard work intensive purposes that come up. In my case, they help me prep fun kid friendly foods ahead of time, and the older kids pack their own lunches. A few of my boys love tuna. Personally, I hate it, and may or may not gag repeatedly when working with it. That being said, let’s get started with this kid friendly tuna rolls recipe.

Easy Tuna Rolls Ingredients

Ingredients:
2 – 12 oz tuna in can
1/3 c. mayo (not pictured)
1/4 c. pickle relish
2 hard boiled eggs
2 tsps. of wasabi sauce
seaweed sheets
1 1/2 c. of cooked sushi rice

Step 1: Start by cooking your sushi rice per package directions. Sushi rice cooks a little differently than regular rice. Combine 1 1/2 cups of sushi rice into a sauce pan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Then remove from heat and let cool.

Combine all Tuna rolls ingredients

Step 2: Combine drained tuna, mayo, relish, egg yolks, and wasabi sauce. Leave the whites out and set aside. If you find that your mixture is still too dry add a small amount of mayo.

add chopped egg whites

Step 3: Chop your egg whites and add to mixture.

Spread sushi rice on seaweed

Step 4: Place a sheet of seaweed on a bamboo mat. (If you don’t have a bamboo mat, I would suggest using a placemat that is somewhat firm. Then use parchment or wax paper over the top of that.) Spread sushi rice on top of your seaweed. Your seaweed should be shiny side down. Leave about an inch at the end, because when you start to roll it the rice spreads out a bit.

Step 5: Add a thin layer of your tuna mixture to the center of your rice.

Use bamboo mat to roll sushi

Step 6: Place seaweed close to the end of your bamboo sheet and begin to roll. I hope the pictures help.

Step 7: Slice your tuna rolls to your desired thickness! And tada! Easy as pie.

Slice rolls

Serve your rolls with wasabi sauce and some pickled ginger. Want to know what is really great these days? The fact that you can find these ingredients in your regular supermarket! I used to always have to drive to my closest Asian market for things like seaweed and specialty rice’s. And that was a 45 minute drive.

My intention wasn’t to serve this delicacy for dinner, it was for my kids to take in their lunches. So to spice things up a bit and make it a little more fun, I found these googly eyes and mustaches in the baking section at the store.

kid friendly toppings

Here is a sample of our cool bento box lunches! I hope to share a few other quick and easy plan ahead school lunches.

Tuna Roll bento box

***If anyone is interested in a seaweed-free/tuna-free version please let me know. My daughter made some that way and I’m sure she’d be happy to share the recipe with you non-seafoodies like her and I.

Soft Garlic Pretzel Recipe

Garlic Soft Pretzels

Before you go forward, I am warning you now, this step by step soft garlic pretzel recipe has a lot of photos. Because making pretzels is way harder than I had ever imagined it would be! But in the end it was worth it and we had a lot of fun in the process. We tried to follow along to this recipe we found on Pinterest. And for those of you that aren’t serving a family of 6-8 people, you might want to cut this recipe in half. This recipe will yield 16 small-medium pretzels.

Ingreditents for garlic soft pretzels

Ingredients you’ll need:

For the dough
3 cups warm water (110-115° F)
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. garlic salt
4.5 tsp. instant yeast
9 cups all-purpose flour
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl
Large dose of patience

For finishing

Cooking spray
20 cups water
1-1/3 cup baking soda
2 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water
Garlic Salt salt
8 tbsp. melted butter

my boys

Here’s my crew reading through a few recipes to find just the right one.

starting the dough

For the dough, mix together sugar, water, garlic salt, and yeast with a hand mixer on low speed until all of your yeast has dissolved. I ran out of my small jar of yeast, and I started to panic. Then I remembered I’m a rockstar and buy odd things in insane bulk. Like yeast, why in the world do I have this amount of yeast? Um, I was worried about 12-21-12. Yep, I thought there was a chance the world may come to an end and buy lots and lots of yeast seemed like the right thing to do. There, I said it. Not my proudest purchase, but it came in handy today. And if any of my neighbors ever need some yeast, I got their back, for at least the next decade.

use plenty of flour
don't loose track of flour

Add your 9 cups of flour and try not to lose count. Do not pack your flour, scoop it lightly and do not exceed the top line of your measuring cup. This will help keep your dough light and fluffy as is bakes.

add some butter

Add your 4 tablespoons of melted butter. And begin to mix. I do not have a machine mixer so this particular step was long and tedious. Once I felt I had it mixed pretty well, I removed it from the bowl and kneaded it by hand on my counter top. (And its quite possible my pretzels may have had some subtle hues of jelly or ramen noodles based on that last minute audible.)

knead the dough
let dough rise

One you have it kneaded as smooth as possible, roll it into a ball and place it in a large bowl that is lightly greased with vegetable oil. Rub a bit of oil over your dough ball as well. Cover your dough with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.

line trays with parchment paper

Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly dust them with cooking spray.

seperate into dough balls

Once your dough has risen, separate your dough into 16 equal size dough balls. This part was kind of hard when you have 4 little boys grabbing handfuls. This is where you turn to your large dose of patience. Save some for later as well.

boil water with baking soda

This step seemed odd to me, but I did it and that’s that. Bring your 20 cups of water and 1-1/3 baking soda to a boil.

12

have fun with dough
form pretzel shape

This next portion of pretzel making took a heck of a lot longer than I thought it would. Actually it probably took us about an hour to get our pretzels just right. Reason being was little hands have a harder time getting the dough rolled out into long strands. Ideally try and get your strands to at least 24 inches. I’d say we averaged about 20-22. So some of our pretzels we super fat. Still equally scrumptious, just thick.

pretzels are always perfect

I really loved seeing the wonky pretzels my kiddos formed. To me they were the true pretzel perfection.

16

The boys had such a hard time getting their dough in strands, at one point my oldest son just started swinging his around, which kind of worked as it stretched out a bit. But I do not recommend this method. If you get a little too wild with your swing, your dough will break in half. And then, game over. Gotta start again. And mom has to then consume another large dose of patience. But its ok to laugh, just don’t belly laugh because that could be easily confused with shenanigan encouragement.

boil pretzels before baking

Here’s what the water and baking soda is for… you boil your pretzels for about 30 seconds each and place them back on your baking sheets. They sort of expanded but not by much.

add garlic salt

Take the two beaten egg yolks and brush over your boiled pretzels and add some garlic salt.

bake at 450 for 10 minutes

Bake your pretzels at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. We baked them for 10 minutes.

tasty garlic pretzels

And TADA!! Perfectly tasty soft garlic pretzels!

Soft garlic pretzels

With your remaining 8 tablespoons for butter, melt that down and add a few dashes of garlic salt for dipping! Of course you could also use cheese sauce, ranch, or something else you might like.

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