Pretzels in the Pan Crop R

Until recently I would have advised you NOT to invite me to your potluck.  I stink at bringing food other people like.  Let’s review my past potluck contributions:

cold quinoa salad with raisins and toasted coconut

brushetta with goat cheese

greek yogurt cucumber salad

marinated feta cheese, olive and cucumber skewers

I thought they were all perfectly yummy, and best of all healthy . . . but no one else ate them.  Any of them.  It’s not that they weren’t tasty or that I’m a bad cook, they were just out of the norm.

I was chatting with my friend Amber a few months ago and she noted she has this same problem.  She’s 100% Paleo and super excited for the food she brings to get-togethers.  Her contributions are super healthy, super within her diet and . . . super unpopular.  Or so she tells me – I go NUTS for her food because she’s an awesome cook.  We commiserated and I explained how I was done sharing food I like and was set on sharing food everybody likes.  Let’s face it, more people share the culinary tastes of my Father-in-Law than me.  It’d be a frigid day in H-E-double-hockey-sticks before I could get my Father-in-Law to eat a cold quinoa salad with raisins and toasted coconut and let’s not even discuss the goat cheese.  I shudder to think what he’d say if I served that to him.

After much debate I’ve recently come up with a solution to my potluck woes.

I’d like to introduce you to the perfect potluck food . . . dun dun duuuuuuun . . .

CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS!

Pretzels Crop R

I have reasons people, oh do I have reasons!

Pretzel Title RW

One.  Who doesn’t like pretzels?  Nobody, that’s who.  Pretzels even come in gluten-free versions if that’s an issue.

Two.  Who doesn’t like chocolate?  Nobody, that’s who.  Chocolate even comes in vegan versions if that’s an issue.

Three.  They are fast and easy to make.  Melt chocolate.  Dip pretzel.  Top if desired.  Done.

Four.  They can be made last minute.  Keep a bag of pretzels around the house and some chocolate and you are always ready to go, no special trip to the grocery required.

Five.  They are completely customizable to any and every occasion.  That’s right.  Every occasion.  Wilton candy melts come in a ridiculous amount of colors to account for every holiday, graduating seniors class colors, birthday theme, season and more!  For formal occasions or to appear fancy, use more expensive chocolate.  Dip your pretzels in a mix of white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate and you’ve got every type of chocolate lover covered.  And toppings!  Yes, let’s discuss toppings.  Crushed peppermint for Christmas.  Toasted pecans for Thanksgiving.  Green sprinkles for St. Patty’s Day.  Yellow sprinkles for summer.  Orange sprinkles for fall.  Red and blue sugar on white chocolate for Fourth of July.  I could go on but there isn’t enough room on the internet  to list all the options.

Six.  They are portable.  They store well, travel well, there’s no messy sauces to deal with and they are easy to grab a serving off the picnic table.  They won’t go stale, get soft or slimey or squishy and they have a shelf life that makes them just as tasty for a second helping when that fabulous party extends late into the night.  Plus, if by some miracle, there are any left and you take them home there’s no need to be concerned about contracting botulism from them sitting out on a table for hours and hours.

Seven.  They are pretty.  Yes, pretty.  Presentation is half the battle and the better they look the more likely they’ll end up on that disposable plate instead of that plain old generic brownie default.

Eight.  If you have kids, they can help! Get them dipping and rolling and you’ve not only got your potluck portion covered, but you’ve gotten your kids in the kitchen, kept them entertained and covered craft time.

Nine.  They really aren’t that bad for you.  Sure, chocolate covered pretzels aren’t exactly on par with eating a salad, but the pretzels themselves are low in fat and if you use a super dark chocolate they can be low in sugar too.  Topping with crushed peanuts even offers a protein boost.  Take that generic brownie.

Ten.  I don’t actually have a tenth reason, but nine reasons chocolate covered pretzels are the perfect potluck food sounded less cool than ten so how about you just take my word for it okay?

Pretzels in the Pan RW

Stop back in later for a post on how well these pretzels did at our last potluck . . . as well as how well other dishes fared!

– Joanna

P.S.  If you are asked to bring a side dish to your next potluck . . . well, ignore the request and go ahead and still bring these mmmm K?  No one will be mad once they eat them.  Besides, pretzels are carby and carbs are side dishes so WIN!

Question of the Day:  What’s your go-to potluck dish?

Can anybody tell me why in the world there are blueberries on this bag of sugar?

Sugar RW

No?  That’s what I thought.

This is what I HATE about marketing.

This is a bag of sugar.  It is NOT I repeat NOT healthy like, say, blueberries.

Blueberries are good for you.

Sugar is not.

There are no blueberries inside this bag of sugar.

There is no earthly reason to put sugar on fresh blueberries.

Can it with the crappy marketing, sugar manufacturers, we are wise to your game.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What marketing ploys drive you nuts?

Occasionally I come across a cooking tip that’s too awesome not to share.

Garlic Chicken RW

Roasting a small bird for dinner?

Don’t want to pull out the big roasting pan and rack?

Love roasted garlic?

Love roasted garlic so much you could eat it by the spoonful?

Then this tip is for you!

Instead of propping your bird up on a fancy schmancy rack that you’d just have to wash later anyway, prop your bird up on a few heads of garlic with the tops chopped off.  It’ll get your bird up off the bottom of the pan for more even cooking, provide aromatics to help flavor your bird and BONUS you’ll have heads of roasted garlic for dinner or just for snacking.  It’s genius.  Pure genius.

For this bird I used four heads of garlic.  I stuffed the cavity with fresh basil from the garden plus a cut orange (I was out of lemons).  I brushed the bird with melted butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Roasted for an hour at 375 degrees, then flipped the bird over and doused with more butter and seasoning.  Baked for another hour.

So simple and so tasty. From this one quick and easy recipe I got ALL of the following:

1) A four pound chicken to eat for dinner

2) The most delicious butter sauce for drizzling or making into gravy

3) Roasted garlic

4) A chicken carcass for stock made in the crockpot

So go forth and roast some chicken and garlic my internet friends, roast away.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What are your favorite roasted chicken seasonings?

Remember that one time I talked about iguanas and alluded to a blog post I never shared?  Yes, well in that post I never shared I suggested I might mix things up around here and stop playing it so safe (aka not worry about ticking people off and just say what I want to say.)

On that note I’d like to get something off my chest.  No, I need to get something off my chest.  Or out of my underwear. That really would make more sense if you’d read the post.  Sigh.  Let’s just move on shall we?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but . . .

THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN JUST CHOCOLATE!

You heard me.

THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN JUST CHOCOLATE!

Say it with me.  Let’s not scream it this time, just say it nice and matter of fact like.

There is more to life than just chocolate.

Once more, with expression.

There is more to life than just chocolate.

Specifically I’m talking to my husband and his folks.  Calling them out if you will.  Challenging them to broaden their horizons.  Take a risk, take a gamble, step out of their safe little cocoons and experience ALL there is in life to experience.

Let’s set the scene.

My in-laws came into town (with a ten foot yellow slide and a hideously framed fish picture but those are different stories entirely) for a visit the other day.  We had dinner one night and plans for ice cream the next.  There were three options for ice cream locations.

Option A – The local dairy whip.  Yes, a town favorite but pretty basic soft serve and nothing distinguishable from any other dairy whip.  What it has going for it is location, location, location.  It’s five minutes from home and when you have a baby that gets the fuss in the evenings and a two a half year old that gets a case of the crazies in the evenings this really is a strong selling point.

Option B – Fancy soft serve fro-yo.  Fun flavors and toppings.  The big selling point here (besides the points card which earns me free fro-yo) is all the options.  You can add as many different flavors and toppings to your cup as your hungry heart desires! The possibilities are endless (okay, not really endless but statistically really high)!  Option B is more like ten minutes from home.  Not too shabby.

Option C – Local, French pot ice cream. It’s pretty much the all time best, stick to the roof of your mouth creamy goodness that is worth every dang pants tightening, cellulose inducing calorie.  Its only drawback . . . it’s more like 15-18 minutes from home.  Not bad, but go too close to bedtime and it’s the longest 15-18 minute car ride ever.  Plus it’s kind of on a busy road and Sweetey Petey is a runner.

My husband wanted Option A.  The in-laws tend to get Option C on their own when they visit.  So I pushed for Option B – moderately close to home and with loads of options.  The perfect compromise if you ask me.

Here’s the problem.  Despite the fact that the frozen yogurt came in fun flavors like Orange, Pineapple, Peanut Butter, Brownie Batter, Coconut, Coffee, Cheesecake, Vanilla, Pistachio, Strawberry, Chocolate, Birthday Cake, Blackberry Greek, Salted Caramel and even pre-mixed smoothies . . . my husband and his entire side of the family only got chocolate.  Chocolate.  Just chocolate.  Mike added a few toppings to his chocolate, but his parents?  They were toppingless.  As in without any top.  No sprinkles or nuts or crushed candy or fruit or gummy bears or Swedish fish or marshmallows or coconut or iced graham cracker cookies or brownie bits or nerds or sauces of any kind.

Just.  Plain.  Chocolate.

I’ll admit I myself didn’t go hog wild with toppings, but I never do when I’m letting new to me frozen yogurt flavors shine though.

Yes, you read me right, flavors.  Plural.  With an s people, an s.  That’s the point of these places, to try new flavors!

In my bowl was a combo of cheesecake, coconut and pistachio.  I sprinkled some rainbow jimmies on top for funsies.  Because these places are supposed to be fun.  My fav?  The pistachio!  Followed closely by the coconut and coming up last, the cheesecake.

Fro Yo RW

That’s Sweetey Petey’s cup above mine.  The Husband *gasp* gave him some peanut butter as well.

There was no plain chocolate in my cup.  Because plain chocolate at a fancy fro-yo place is just so vanilla.  I’ll admit the in-laws aren’t notorious for trying new things (remember the kohlrabi debacle) but if ever there was a chance for them, I’d like to think it starts with fro-yo.

I know my M-I-L doesn’t read my blog but my F-I-L does and so do some of their friends.  I say we all band together.  We all band together and double dog dare them to get something other than chocolate next time.  And toppings?  At least one??  Maybe even *gasp* a sauce???  Can they do it????  With a little encouragement I do believe there could still be hope for them yet.

– Joanna

What’s your favorite frozen yogurt topping?

05. August 2014 · Comments Off on August 5th 2014 · Categories: Day By Day, Midwestern Life · Tags: , ,

My exciting life.

Dad by day.

Today’s chosen mode of transportation.

2014.08.05 Scooter RW

– Joanna

What did you do to today?

 

My exciting life.

Day by day.

August 4th 2014.

Thanks to a $50 off sale and some Amazon associate rewards I finally bit the bullet on the Lensbaby Circular Fisheye Lens I’ve been jonesing for.

2014.08.04 Lensbaby RW

Notice anything wrong with that picture?

Here, I’ll help you out.

2014.08.04 Lensbaby RW Circle

Le sigh.  I ordered a Nikon mount.  Because I have a Nikon camera.  I was sent the Canon.  Now I have to wait till Thursday for the replacement.  If I was a nail biter I’d be down to nubs by Thursday for sure.  But I’m not.  So I’ll just whine about the wait here instead.

Joanna

Question of the Day:  What was the last thing you splurged on for yourself?

Did you know that you can make zucchini pickles?  Yes, well, you can.  Who needs cucumbers?

Zucchini:

Zucchini RW

Zucchini Pickles:

Zucchini Pickles RW

The recipe came from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Have you done any canning?  If so, what have you canned?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...