Now Bake This: Totally Twisted Homemade Pretzels

Happy Monday Everyone!

I am so happy to announce that I am no longer a single parent! The hubs got back from his Revolution shoot on Thursday and it’s been so nice having him home. Unfortunately it seems as though my “food poisoning” {aka stomach flu} decided to stick around and prey on another victim so please send your well wishes his way. And send even MORE well wishes to Keelin so that it skips her all together. Not sure how I’ll handle it if it gets to her too. *praying praying praying*

In other news, I thought I would kick off the week right by linking up! I had such a great time with this link up during my link UP week, and seeing as how I did a little baking while the hubs was away, I thought I’d join in again with Now Bake This!

I’d been meaning to make these bad boys for months… no, years. Ever since our friend Ike whipped up a batch a few New Year’s Eves ago. They were so delicious and I knew I had to make them. The only problem back then was that I didn’t have a stand mixer and was lacking in the skills {lazy} to try it without. But once I got my beloved stand mixer, his name is Linus, I knew I had to give them a try. Don’t ask why it still took me like 2 years to finally make them.

Feast your eyes {and hopefully soon your taste buds} on these delicious treats.

soft pretzelsYUM!
These are my incredibly successful attempt at Alton Brown’s Soft Pretzels. Holy crap are they scrumptious.
The recipe is somewhat involved but pretty straight forward. Keeping with my normal recipe-sharing-habit, I’ll give you the low down of how it went down in my kitchen.

What you need:
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 all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
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

What to do: (directions from Food Newtork)
Combine water, sugar and 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 and 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.

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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.

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Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. 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.

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If you’re in the mood for something more snack-sized, cut the pieces into tiny bites.

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Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1 for twisted – a few at a time for bites, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Warning.. I’m a big fan of cleaning drips and spills while I go, but when it comes to the baking soda bath… there is no point. Your stove will be covered in little white splotches {see bottom corner of photo} so just wait until you are done with the water bath before cleaning up. Avoid the frustration.

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Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with beaten egg yolk/water mixture and sprinkle with pretzel salt. {I just used kosher salt, which worked great for me because sometimes soft pretzels are a little TOO salty}
Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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Holy yum!
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I basically ate the whole tray in one night {while taking a bubble bath} but did pop a few in the freezer to enjoy later on.
Try these out yourself and let me know how they go!

Join the link up with your own baking success!

 

Link UP Week: Delightfully Inspiring Thursday

link up week

The 2nd of today’s link up comes from a blog that I recently {and happily} stumbled upon called Delightful Order.

It’s a pretty basic link up, with tons of ‘delightfully inspiring’ shared projects. The host, DaNita focuses on four key lifestyle tips: Simplify, Create, Organize, Decorate. Sounds great to me! Be sure you pay her a visit and join in the link party by sharing anything related to decorating, crafting, party planning, gift ideas, organizing, or recipes!

This is a quick little project I did a while back when we moved our office out of our bedroom and into the corner of our living room. I have very little space for all of my craft and Etsy materials so I needed to improvise and create storage where there wasn’t any. I had just purchased a number of spools of ribbon and wanted an easy way to access them that wouldn’t leave me with a big box of tangled tentacles. I decided to make a hanging ‘spool spinner’ on the inside of my cabinet door.

What you’ll need:

  • ribbon {duh}
  • small dowel rods {or something sturdy that will fit through the center hole of your spool}
  • twine or rope {ribbon will also work but I didn’t want to have a ribbon overload}
  • craft glue
  • adhesive-backed hooks

What I did:

I first decided how low I wanted the ribbon to hang by measuring out my twine – which will be the main support for the spinner. I then doubled it over and made a loop knot so that I could secure it onto the end of the dowel rod. Then tightened and secured with craft glue.

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Once the glue dried I slid the ribbon onto the dowel, allowing the twine knot to act as a stopper. * I found it easier to make sure the ribbon is all facing the same direction, and hanging down from the front of the spool so it’s easy to pull down and measure out.

I did end up having to shorten the dowel which was pretty easy. Just be sure {if you need to do the same} you sand off the ends so it’s smooth.
With the free end of the twine I made a simple bow on the opposite end of the dowel, closing in the ribbon. Be sure it’s tight but don’t secure this side with glue so it can be removed to change out ribbon in the future.

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Your twine should make a triangle above the ribbon, from which you can easily hang wherever you need. I used adhesive-backed hooks on the interior of my cabinet doors.

Hang and you’re done!

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TA-DA. Simple and sweet. Just the way I like it!

Join the Delightfully Inspiring Thursday link up and be sure to hop around the other party participants to see some great new blogs and projects!

Until next time…

Link UP Week: Penny Pinching Party

link up week

Last link up of the day everyone, this one is about saving a little cash and it comes to you from The Thrifty Home. She has so many great ideas {as do her fellow party attendees} on great ways to save cash without limiting yourself. Do yourself a favor and check out her blog if you haven’t already. More specifically, check out the links that have been shared in her weekly Penny Pinching Party.

 http://www.thethriftyhome.com

 

You may not know that I am currently reading the fantastic and terribly intimidating book, America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Monday. Basically this rock star family of 7 has found a way to live off of $350/month in groceries. Yes, I’m flabbergasted. And nowhere near their success I might add. BUT, the few chapters I have read have definitely sparked the desire to find ways to be thrifty, one of which I’m super excited about and thought was worth sharing.

Backstory: when Z first went on the 17-day diet I started looking for new ways to get creative in the kitchen without breaking his dietary restrictions. One of our fall-back dinner choices was turkey patties but I didn’t want them to be the same boring patty each time so I started experimenting with ingredients. Adding this, substituting that, you know the drill. It was then that I fell in love with sun-dried tomatoes. I put these little bites of heaven on EVERYTHING now! Homemade pizza, in meatloaf, in my spaghetti sauce, you name it. The funny thing is, I’ve never really been a tomato fan but these are like culinary crack! They are delish and I would eat them with every meal if I could. I would also be eating out of our car because I would have spent all our life’s savings on buying the darn things! Holy mother are they pricey. The good kind at least. So I decided I had to find a way to keep my tastebuds happy without going over the grocery budget. ENTER PINTEREST AND YOUR GLORIOUS GLORY!

I stumbled upon a pin from Better Hens and Gardens for HOMEMADE sun-dried {oven-dried} tomatoes. Hallelujah.

Just grab some cherry tomatoes – cheap-o at any grocery store.

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Slice them in half and lay them face up on a baking sheet.

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Put them in a 200 degree oven for 6-12 hours. YES, 6-12 hours.
This is how easy this all is… slice em’ and forget em’. The time it takes will depend on how large your tomatoes are. Mine were on the small side so it only took them around 6-7 hours. Leave them alone as long as you can and check on them at around 6 hours to see how they are doing.

Once they are done you can easily pop them in a zip lock back and straight into the freezer… Me on the other hand, I wanted to add some extra good ju ju so I separated the tomatoes into smaller freezer cups. {I used to use these for Keelin’s homemade baby food, great buys at the dollar store}

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Then I added a mixture of olive oil and my favorite spices – garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano. THEN I popped them in the freezer.

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You can do these in big batches and store them away in individual portions to use whenever you need them. For most recipes you don’t even need to defrost them, just toss dump them into the saute’ pan with the rest of the veggies and prepare for a party on your tastebuds. Plus, it’s far cheaper than spending $4.00 on a single jar of the good stuff at the grocery store!

Join Jen and share your own Penny Pinching tips!

Until next time…

 

 

Link UP Week: Wow Me Wednesday

link up weekAnother Wednesday link up!
Am I going overboard? Do I care? NO… I’m having too much fun!

This next link up is called Wow Me Wednesday and is coming to you from Ginger Snap Crafts. Here are the rules:

The “rules” are simple.
Please consider sharing this party on facebook, twitter, google+ or pinterest.
Link up to your post, not your main blog.
Must be something made by YOU!
Visit other links, make new friends & most of all have fun!
Check back every Thursday for features from the previous week’s party.
I shared a sneak peek of this project on instagram a while ago and am excited to share it with you now! I’d been wanting to make Keelin a set of alphabet magnets to play with on the frig while I’m cooking. With the help of my weekly JoAnn fabric coupons, I snagged a bag of wooden letters for super cheap! At first I considered painting them but then thought about her habits at this age {i.e. putting everything in her mouth} and decided I wanted to add color while still being safe IN CASE one of the letters happened to find itself between toddler teeth. My answer… food coloring!
After searching high and low for a reasonably priced set of primary colored food coloring {Seriously what’s with all the pastels and neons. What happened to plain old red, yellow, and blue?} I finally grabbed a jumbo pack of Wilton gel colors and got down to business.
Here’s what you’ll need:
  • wooden alphabet letters {or shapes, whatever you are dying}
  • food coloring {I used gel but from what I’ve researched liquid should yield the same results}
  • white wine vinegar
  • boiling water
  • dying bowls/cups {I used solo cups so I wouldn’t risk dying my dishes}
  • disposable gloves {your hands WILL turn all sorts of fun colors if you don’t}
  • toothpick/fork/wooden skewer for mixing
  • adhesive magnets
  • paper towels
  • wax paper/parchment paper
Here’s what to do:

I kept it simple with a repeating rainbow pattern by laying out the alphabet in front of their designated color like so:
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To prep the wood you’ll want to sand all sides – this will allow the color to adhere better.
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As far as mixing the color, I disolved the gel color in boiling water and about a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar – which also helps the color bond to the wood.
*Note – be sure you test each color and whether or not the vinegar has an effect on it BEFORE you drop your letters. I learned that the vinegar turned my red a little too orange and my purple a little too blue. If you notice this happen, simply drop your sanded letters into a water/vinegar bath for a few seconds before dropping in the color. If you want to avoid the possibility of altering your colors all together you can keep the vinegar mix separate for all of your letters. Up to you!
Once your water is the desired color {I also recommend testing some small pieces of wood in each color to see if it’s the shade you want. My pack of letters had a few extras of the vowels so I broke them up and tested them all before dropping the whole letter.} drop your letter and use a fork, skewer, toothpick, etc. to make sure it’s fully coated. Don’t let the letter sit for too long or it may get waterlogged. About 30 seconds for each should be fine.
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Remove the letter and place on a paper towel, on top of wax paper {to keep the color from bleeding onto your table or countertop}
Do this with all of your letters and let dry.
If you find that some of the color isn’t as bold as you’d like it, drop the letters again until you get the color you want!
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I probably could have dropped some of them a few more times but I like the way they all turned out.
Once the letters are completely dry, attach adhesive magnets to the backs of each. I’d try one magnet toward the center of the letter, test it out on the frig to see where it could use more support and add as needed.
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Please ignore my orange fingernail in the photo above. Proof that some kind of hand protection is wise.
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Last but not least, tack them on the frig and watch your toddler swat them immediately on the floor. Hard work pays off, eh?
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Don’t mind my filthy, dented frig.
SO, there you have it. A fun, inexpensive, and easy way to make toddler-safe alphabet magnets. {Obviously don’t let your kid play with them unsupervised because they are still made of wood and magnets which don’t BELONG in slobbery soggy mouths. Just know that if you happen to catch a quick chomp, you don’t need to worry about the hazards of ingesting paint.
Thanks to Ginger for hosting such a fun link up. Please join the party by adding one of your recent projects to the list!
Until next time…

Link UP Week: Sew Cute Tuesday

link up week

What the what? Three posts in one day? Yes, believe it folks… linking up has ignited an uncontrollable fire.  But this is that last link party of the day, I promise. I hadn’t originally intended on doing another but when I found this blog and party I decided it had to be done. Especially since I’d been meaning to share a project that will fit in perfectly with the theme!

Better Off Thread

Welcome to Sew Cute Tuesday hosted by Better Off Thread {hello adorable blog name}. It’s all about sewing or craft projects and it’s about time I shared one that I did back before Christmas. The hubs and I were trying to budget our spending for the holiday and I wanted to make something special for my new nephew, Spencer. I already had the fabric, snagged a few extra rolls of ribbon, and was on my way to making a sweet lovie {tag blanket} for my sweet love!

His nursery has a nautical-lighthouse theme so I wanted to do something along those lines and I decided to use the fishy fabric from Keelin’s 42 week onesie shoot. I had just bought some grey pop-dot fabric for the quilt I have still yet to finish, and decided it was the perfect soft back the blanket needed. I measured and cut the fabric to match and pinned them with the ‘right’ sides facing one another. You should know that I’m a terrible seamstress so my technique is terrible and probably WRONG in the grand scheme of things… but it gets the job done. In the photo below you can also see that I measured out 1/2″ on each edge to help guide me on the sewing machine… yeah, rookie.

tag blanket

I then placed the ribbon tags where I wanted them. I didn’t make any particular symmetry, just wanted enough on each side for him to really grab onto. Remove the pins in the area where you plan on placing a ribbon tag and slide between your pieces of fabric, making sure the end of the ribbon is lined up with the edge of the blanket.

tag blanket

Replace the pins {through the ribbon} and head to the sewing machine.

tag blanket

I assume since you found me on a sewing blog you can basically decipher the rest. I assume since you found me on a sewing blog you can basically decipher the rest. If not, sew each edge completely, making crisp, 90 degree corners. Leave a hole about 1″ to 1 1/2″ so you can flip the blanket right-side-out. I used the tip of my scissors to lightly press in each corner to make sure they were fully inverted. Close the hole and admire the cuteness.

tag blanket

It was a lot of fun to make and even more fun to see in a picture with my nephew!

tag blanket

Hopefully in the next week or so I can link up again to share progress on Keelin’s onesie fabric quilt. It does exist, and there has been progress… but it’s definitely not done. If you have a fun sewing project worth sharing, make sure you join the link party with Better Off Thread!

Until next time…

Link UP Week: One Project At A Time

link up weekYep, I couldn’t leave you with only ONE link up post today! It is link UP week after all!

This next link party comes from A Bowl Full of Lemons. This is all about what’s been going on in or around your casa {i.e. what have you been working on?} New recipes? Redecorating? Being Crafty? Whatever project you’ve been working on, here is where you share it!

Did I mention I LOVE link ups? Because I do.

My recent project is one I’d been meaning to do for a while and finally got the time {and courage} to do it. We have a lovely little space under our steps that is constantly in disarray, so much so that we normally have it quarantined off so Keelin can’t get lost in the mess. At one point I kept my crafts under there but no matter how much I tried it would inevitably turn into a total mess. So when we moved the office downstairs into the living room I was able to take some of the clutter out and was determined to keep it clean and organized.

Fail.

It stayed pretty clean for about a week but after the first time Z cleaned out the fish tank it pulled a Jekyll and Hyde transformation on us and returned to the unsatisfactory disaster zone. SO, when Keelin started to get more active and in need of a little space for her toys {not in the middle of the living room floor} I thought it would make the perfect little playnook for her. And Lord knows if it’s somewhere Keelin is going to be spending a lot of time I’m going to keep it free of dangerous clutter. So one day when Z was at work and The Bean was napping, I busted out the trash bags, vacuum, Swiffer duster, and got down to business. I’ve got to tell you, I gave myself more than one pat on the back for this epic success.

Here is the before, and I have to tell you it pains me looking at it again, to think that I let it sit like that for so long. BAD housewife {smacks back of hand}.

beforeAHHHH. Avert your eyes. Horrible I know.

Once I decided what was staying, what was going to the shed, what was headed to the attic, what was going to our room, and what was going in the trash, I had a lot less to work with. Thank the SWEET LORD.

There was still enough down there that we use on a regular basis {regular enough to not want to go to the attic each time we need it} and decided I would re-organize it all {again} and section off the space directly under the first set of steps. That way we could still utilize it as storage but wouldn’t have overflow into Keelin’s play nook.

playnook

 

playnook

 

Yes, that is a Rock Band drum set. And Yes, I do rock that Rock Band drum set.
So once I got everything cleaned, organized and sectioned off, I began the REAL fun of filling the nook with as much cozy, comfy, and fun stuff as it could stand. And this is the HAPPILY Cleaner After:

playnook after

 

Look at that and tell me you don’t want to spend the whole day snuggled up with that sweet elephant. Yeah, I know, it’s awesome. I’m really proud. And I’m even more proud that I’ve been able to keep it clean for over a month. Yes, it gets messy with her toys… but that’s what it’s for. She loves going into her little nook, looking through the window, snuggling with Phanny {the name I’ve given the elephant}, and playing with all of her toys. So even at the end of the day when some of her junk has trickled into the middle of the living room, I have a nice open area to put it all back in! And for those of you who are mommies worrying about that corner poking out toward the top right of the picture, she’s not nearly tall enough to hit it. And I’m pretty sure Z and I will successfully dull it with our own heads by the time she’s in danger of hurting herself.

The only problem is… now I want my own playnook.

Be sure you check out all the other great projects at A Bowl Full of Lemons and let me know if you joined in!

Until next time…

 

 

 

Link UP Week: Trendy Tot Tuesday

link up week

Welcome to day 3 of link UP week!
Forgive me for only posting ONE link up yesterday… this past weekend was a little nuts and this week is going to be even MORE nuts. On Friday, as we waited for my parents to get here for a long weekend visit, we found out that Z booked a roll on the new NBC series, Revolution. He is currently filming in Wilmington {probably on set as we speak} and I’m playing single mom for the week. I may be looney tunes by the end of it all! But enough about me, on to the next link up!

My college friend and fellow mom-blogger Melanie at Career Desires to Bottles and Diapers gave me the heads up about this awesome NEW link up. I was hoping to find and help promote a brand new link up so I’m so thankful she passed this along! It’s called Trendy Tot Tuesday hosted by Kelly at Mrs. In Training, Megan at Table for Three, and Lindsay at Baby Mama Drama.

Trendy Tot Tuesday

This will be a chance to talk about kid’s style, and pretty much anything goes.  Pictures of your cutie, talking about their style (that you buy and dress them in, ahem!), a Polyvore board, linking to the new kid’s line at the Gap – anything!  All ages welcome, from you sweet pregnant mamas stocking up a closet to the teenagers that probably pick all their own stuff out now.

Sounds like fun! Let’s get to it!

When it comes to Keelin’s wardrobe, I learned early on how AMAZING consignment shopping is. Especially for mommy and daddy’s wallet. Before she was born I had to stop myself from filling my cart with the cutest Gap, Carter’s, and FAO Schwartz fashions. I discovered that I’m not a big “color” specific shopper {aka Keelin’s closet isn’t overrun with pink} but instead I prefer bright and fun colors… hence my love of Carter’s! But like I said before, dressing your kid like a supermodel can be a major strain on the bank account so we rely a lot on seasonal sales and consignment shops. I decided to use this first Trendy Tot Tuesday to put a spotlight on the outfits Keelin wears all the time, and show some of the adorable digs I wish she had.

FAVS:

  • The first is my go-to party outfit. Keelin wore it for her 1st birthday and some of her 1 year photos and I’m so in love with the sweet flowers and matching skirt. They were both a gift from my first baby shower and are both from Arizona.
  • Next is a super sweet Carter’s outfit perfect for chilly weather. The hooded sweater has a fun swirl pattern and silver glitter buttons, and the grey stretch leggins {terrible picture, I apologize} have matching buttons. Adorable.
  • The third is a representation of my FAVORITE article of clothing… overalls. We love OshKosh denim overalls but anything goes. The one in the photo is an adorable romper that Z’s mother knit her. Homemade clothes are ABSOLUTELY the best.

Now onto some adorable “dream” digs.
My guilty pleasure is scoping out Facebook, Gap, and Etsy for adorable outfits. Seriously if I could stock her closet with nothing but Gap and WAHM-made outfits, I would. We probably wouldn’t have a house to put the closet in, but she’d certainly be stylin’!

  • First is an adorable white Scalloped eyelet dress from Gap Kids. I’ll take one in every color please- and do they come in my size?
  • Next is a sweet Love U Dress/Tunic from Bleu Bird Designs. I LOVE all the colors and the rustic patchwork!
  • 3rd  is a dress and ballet slipper set from BabyBlushBoutique. Remember them from the fantastic giveaway they hosted? Love all of her custom designs.
  • 4th is a Green zigzag bishop dress from Marjorie’s Daughter. This company is actually owned my by gal pal’s aunt and her smocked dresses are beyond precious and she’s currently having a sale on Zulily! Check it out!
  • 5th is a Limpopo Bandana Ruffle Tunic from Tea Collection. Bright colors, sweet ruffles, love love love!
  • And last is pretty much the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen – Hill farm blue vintage romper from ju ju Creations. Killing me.

Well there you have it! Some of my favorite outfits in Keelin’s arsenal and a list of dresses you are more than welcome to purchase and send her/me. :)

Thanks so much to the gracious hosts for coming up with such a fun link up! I’ll definitely be joining in again!

Until next time… 

Link UP Week: Now Bake This

link up week

Happy Monday ya’ll and welcome to Day 2 of link UP week! Hopefully you caught a glimpse of yesterday’s link ups {Sunday Social and Raising Imperfection} but be sure you check them out if you didn’t! Did anyone participate? Let me know!

To kick the week off right I thought I’d join Heart on Homestead and Peachy Plum for a little baking fun in their lovely {semi-new} link up aptly titled Now Bake This.

Now, since the hubs and I have been consciously trying to eat healthier, and considering Lent started last week, I haven’t been doing a whole lot of baking these days. Lucky for you and the sake of this link up, Keelin is NOT counting calories and I’ve been looking forward to sharing this amazing recipe for the perfect toddler snack. I originally found the recipe on Pinterest {duh… follow me yo!} and thought, why not finally make something I’ve pinned?!? And so I did. Allow me to introduce the brilliant, simple, and delicious mini banana pancake muffins, compliments of Once A Month Mom.  Holy yum, these things are the best. I’ve given you the link to her original recipe, but because I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to what my kid puts in her belly, I did a little tweaking. Not to be confused with twerking. Please do not twerk while you bake… things get messy enough as it is.

Moving on…

The first time I gave this recipe a try, I made a few adjustments just to cut back on the sugar. {i.e. I halved the amount of syrup it called for and replaced it with more water} They turned out great, were slightly less sweet, and Keelin loved them. Win.

The second time I tried a few too many adjustments and while they were still good, and Keelin didn’t complain, they were a little mushy for my taste. Kids are messy enough without having to scrape gooey pancake batter out from between their fingers. Lesson learned: while trying to add natural sweetness by using sugar-free applesauce, make sure you compensate with dry ingredients or it’s mush city for your mini muffins. Mostly win.

This third time I totally {not totally} changed things up and just rolled with the punches. It’s the same basic recipe, with a Sara spin. I decided to document my journey to share with you today. BIG win. Enjoy.

*Disclaimer – while I’ve provided measurements, a big part of the final result was just eyeing things and making sure my mix wasn’t too soggy.

Step 1: ingredients

1 to 1-1/2 cup  “just add water” pancake mix.
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup no sugar added applesauce
a dash of cinnamon {totally optional – unless you live in my house in which case the answer is, ALWAYS add cinnamon}
fruit of choice

GASP – yes, I cut out the syrup all together. This was partially an intentional choice because I wanted the fruit and applesauce to be the source of the sweetness. And it was partially happenstance because I was out of syrup and did not feel like going out in 30 degree weather to get more. In the end, it was a great choice.

Step 2: mix it up
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Combine pancake mix, water, applesauce, and cinnamon. Feel free to add more pancake mix {I did} if it looks too watery. The applesauce is deceptive in it’s ability to really juicy things up. Then add the fruit. I used blueberries and peaches in this batch but used variations of banana, strawberry, raspberry, mango, and pineapple in the past. Whatever floats your fruity boat.

Step 3: pour it out
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Pour into greased mini cupcake pan {Or if you are feeling frisky, you can use mini cupcake liners}. Be sure to wipe off the heinous drip marks if you plan on taking pictures for blogging purposes. {guilty}

Step 4: bake it good {preferably while listening to “WHIP it good…}
Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown. I also recommend using the toothpick test to make sure the center is nice and cooked.

Step 5: bask in the glory of your baking excellence
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Totally legitimate step.

Step 6: cool and cooler
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Let cool before removing from muffins and freeze.

Step 7: rock it
Pop out a few mini muffins as a part of breakfast or as a light snack and let your kids’ love for you grow every time. GOSH, what an awesome mom you are.

Let it be known that I realize these things are easy and delicious enough that you can make them for yourself, but since mine are mostly for my little one I’m focusing on the parental perks of the recipe! Have you tried these before or do you have another simple toddler snack recipe worth sharing? Please do. And if it involves baking make sure you link up with Jessica and Maria for Now Bake This, every Monday!

Until next time… 

Think I forgot about a really great link up? Let me know what party I should join in the comments!

Link UP Week: Raising Imperfection

link up week

The 2nd link up of the week is brought to you by the dynamic duo at Raising Reagan and Violet Imperfection. Their weekly link up invites you to share… just about anything! Funny stories, parenting successes, parenting fails {way funnier}, DIY projects, recipes, whatever you’re in the mood to share! They choose their favorite link each week and feature them on their Featured Friday post! Sounds like fun, eh? Let’s begin.

Since I have plenty of parenting FAIL stories to share, and they openly invite them, I figured it’s about time I share one.
This is one of my more recent proud parenting moments. One for the baby books. One of those times where you just have to stop and think, “Well, at least she’s still alive”.

My little one is almost 14 months old {that’s 1 year and 2 months for those of you who hate when parents refer to their toddler’s age in ‘months’} and is constantly on the move. She’s a skinny minny monkey because she’s burning like a million calories a day and the chance that I’ll lose track of her somewhere in our house at least once a day is great. I’d say 100%. It’s not that my house isn’t safe – we have baby-proofed cabinets, put gates on the stairs, and are pretty careful about shutting doors to the rooms we don’t want her in, but she is constantly sneaking around like a little creeper. And lets face it, we’re human, and I have mom brain, so mistakes will me made when it comes to keeping her OUT of the things she’s not supposed to be IN.

One such mistake occurred just a few weeks ago when I was neck deep in laundry. Keelin was roamed around upstairs, pulling all the books off the bookshelf, attacking the dogs during their morning sunbathing session, and talking to herself in the mirror in the guest room. The usual. I’m generally pretty good at remembering to close the door to the guest bathroom when I know I’ll lose sight of miss into-everything, but this particular day, mom brain set in and I forgot. Actually, mom brain was in FULL FORCE because not only did I forget to shut the door, but I forgot to put the toilet seat down after rinsing off her latest diaper.

Pause – this is not a frightening story about her falling in the toilet so don’t call social services on me just yet.
You should also know that my kid is a total weirdo and has some strange fascination with the toilet. She loves to drum on the toilet lid, which I admit is equal parts cute, comical, and totally gross. Don’t worry, I keep things extra clean to counteract her weirdness. So what do you think happens when a kid who likes to drum on the toilet lid stumbles upon a toilet with the lid up? Ponder that for a minute while I continue with my parenting fail tale.

Like I said, I was doing my wifely/motherly duties and kicking some laundry butt when I noticed it had been about a minute since I heard Keelin blabbering to herself or caught a glimpse of her dashing across the hallway. So I turned on my spidey sense hearing and tried to guess where she was while I finished folding the bathroom towels. What I heard was not her normal toilet lid drumming, but something similar. It was a much more prominent slap, as if her hands were wet. WET? TOILET DRUMMING? Oh crap.
She turned to look at me right as I stepped into the bathroom doorway, hands, toilet bowl, and FACE dripping with water.
Mom WIN.

So the answer to my previous question – What happens when a kid who likes to drum on the toilet lid stumbles upon a toilet with the lid up? She drums on the toilet SEAT, but not before dipping her hands in the toilet water, and sticking her hands in her mouth.

Gross.

So after having a quick laugh… because you have to when you’re a parent… I proceeded to wipe off the toilet, and my child. I then got some good use out of my pack of sani-wipes, just for good measure, and immediately called the hubs to tell him of the day’s events.
I’m the best mom ever.
At least she’s still alive.

PLEASE join me and Raising Imperfection by sharing a funny story… hopefully your own parenting fail so I cal feel less like a loser mom. K? Thanks.

Until next time…

Link UP Week: Sunday Social

Welcome to…

link up weekLet the link ups begin!
As you know this week will be chock-full of fantastic link ups. Some old, some new, all fun! I’d love for you to join me in some, or ALL of these great ‘getting to know you’ link parties!! Join the hosts {I’ll provide links} and let me know if you’re joining in so I can check out your post!
Why not start the week of with a little Sunday Social?!

Sunday SocialThis link up is brought to you by the lovely ladies at A Complete Waste of Make up and Ashley Lately {formerly known as Ashley’s Carnival Ride} Each week they provide you with a few questions to answer so you can share a little bit about yourself and get to know fellow link-ers. In other words… time to get social!

1. Best Valentine’s Day you’ve ever had:
I’m going to get a little cheesy here for a minute and flashback to Valentine’s Day 2009. Z and I were both still in school, and I had decided to be super sneaky and surprise him by driving from Va to Ga for the weekend. I showed up at his performance of Proof and was waiting for him outside in the lobby. HUGE surprise for him, HUGE success for me! Little did I know, he had a ring already, prepared to propose a month later when I came down for spring break. I guess it’s just proof that men are less patient because he couldn’t wait and popped the question just after midnight – on Valentine’s Day. This time it was me who was surprised. Best. Valentine’s. Day. Ever.

2. Worst Valentine’s Day you’ve ever had:
I’ve never been a huge Valentine’s Day celebrator, so I never really put a lot of pressure on it to be a ‘great day’. I do remember dumping my elementary school boyfriend, on the bus, in front of all of our friends, because he spelled my name wrong on my valentine. Yeah. I don’t mess around. Get it right Justin.

3. What did you do for Valentines this year?:
The hubs and I are trying to budget the best we can so we didn’t want to do anything too big. I gave him a personal gift which shall remain unnamed {gotta keep a few secrets!} and I actually ruined Z’s gift to me by getting it for myself over the weekend. OOPS. So, we decided just to do a casual dinner out just the three of us. It started out as an epic failure when the restaurant we chose gave us the worst possible service before we even met a waiter – which took 20 minutes too long. She finally showed up as we were leaving, with a look on her face like we were the rude ones. We ended up reverting back to a family favorite and it turned into a great night.

4. Best Valentines Idea if you’re single:
Back in high school my bff and I had a friend of ours give us a fun Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt. It was quite an adventure and took the pressure of being a “romantic” holiday completely out of the pictures. So much fun and something great to do with single friends.

5. Favorite Valentines Candy:
Crunch Chocolate Hearts. Best. Ever.

6. Favorite Valentines Memory from your childhood:
I loved picking out and making Valentine’s for friends. I guess it was my future DIY lover coming through that I always wanted my Valentine’s to be the best – and unique!

WAHOO! Fun link up ladies… and I love flashing back to Valentine’s past!
Are you being Sunday Social today? Join the link up and give me a shout out in the comments if you’re joining in!

Until next time…