Is it just me, or is everyone in a bigger rush than ever this year? It seemed like we hadn’t even turned the Halloween corner into November and I was getting Christmas catalogues and seeing lawns already decorated with Rudolph and Santa. I went to the mall at the beginning of this month and it was INSANE, like, frenzied with early holiday gift shoppers. Everyone’s in a big ass rush this time of year; apparently even my doctor is in a rush. I was told by her last week, depending on my health, that my baby will probably deliver anywhere from three to five weeks early (remember, I’m considered an advanced age preggo). It was like a preverbal slap in the face – I thought I had ALLLLLLL this time to still prepare for Baby P’s arrival. I mean, three months is a long time to prepare, but cut that down to two months, a mere eight weeks, possibly even only SEVEN weeks? After the numbness of her verbal slap wore off, I frantically began checking on-line for the parenting classes and hospital maternity ward tour availability that my doc had told me to look into at the end of my seventh month (a week from now). I mean, I haven’t changed a diaper since my niece Nicole was a baby and she’s turning 30 next month if that tells you anything. ALL the parenting classes were full, not just full through November, but full through the end of January. What about daycare? I have to go back to work 90 days after he’s born and every single daycare place has a waiting list that is years (plural, as in multiple yearS) long. Next I discovered the rocking chair I wanted is three to four months for delivery! My goodness, had I failed already? I couldn’t even sign up for the parenting class in time! Where’s our kid going to sleep, in a drawer (?), because we surely hadn’t yet bought a bassinet. Cripes, I just found out a few days ago that cribs do not come with mattresses. You can’t even take your baby home from the hospital unless you have a car seat! Thankfully, my husband saw my wild-eyed onset of a full body panic attack, told me to breathe, gave me a hug, and went with me that very instant to purchase the car seat and bassinet. We finally picked up the (backordered – of course) bassinet today and set it up in our sun-filled bedroom. I know this probably sounds silly but I felt such a sense of calming relief. He has a place to sleep, it’s beautiful and looks comfortable and is portable so I can wheel him around the house from bedroom to kitchen to office if necessary. A space in a really good daycare opened up yesterday and I managed to secure it! I made plans to attend parenting classes at a different hospital and got a spot through a doula’s tour of the maternity ward. I think everything is going to be ok. I feel like I accomplished a lot in baby world this week, and deserve a baby pat on the back.
Speaking of The Mall, is it as hard for you as it is for me to pass the buttery pretzel place and not buy them? Especially pregnant; me want crusty, doughy, buttery, salty pretzels! I was surprised how easy these suckers were to make. And the taste? One bite and I blurted out Holy $@!&!! so loudly that the Hubs called down from his office upstairs to ask if everything was ok. OMG so good and they taste just like the ones in the mall. If you own a bread maker, I suspect they will be even easier for you to make and you should follow this recipe. If you do not have a bread maker but own a stand mixer with a dough hook, please follow the below recipe. If you only have your hands, I hope you are rested up because you’ll need your strength to knead all this business together.
First things first, mix together the warm water, brown sugar and yeast. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes, until bubbles form. This means the yeast is “waking up”, or activating, and eating the sugar.
The mixture will become cloudy and look like this:
Next, measure 3 cups of flour into your stand mixer’s bowl. Using the dough hook, turn the mixer onto low (like 2) and start gradually pouring the yeast mixture into the flour. Turn the machine up to a medium speed (like 4-5) until the dough comes together and is completely formed into a ball. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Place kneaded dough into a medium sized bowl that has been lightly oiled (I drizzled olive oil then wiped it out-spread it around with a paper towel so the entire bowl was covered). The dough should be smooth and cracks are totally ok.
Cover with a towel and let rest for one hour. Go ahead and clean up the mess you’ve undoubtedly made, but leave your floured surface because you aren’t done with it yet! After an hour, the dough will have more than doubled in size. (I am always amazed when this part actually happens for me.)
Place dough onto your floured surface and divide into 8 balls. Roll each ball into a 20″ rope and cut 1″ sized pieces. I managed to get about 12 pieces out of each dough rope.
Once the dough is rolled and cut, bring 8 cups of water and 1/2 a cup of baking soda to a boil. Drop the dough pieces in, 12 pieces at a time for 20 seconds total. Drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all dough pieces have been boiled for 20 seconds. Using butter, grease a cookie sheet. Place drained dough pieces onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 425 for 10 minutes, or until browned on top. Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush with butter and sprinkle with coarse salt. After buttering and salting, I flipped mine and baked them for 3 minutes more on the other side, so both sides were crisped. Pretzel Perfection! Serve with some sort of cheese dip – maybe store bought queso or queso from your local Mexican restaurant!
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Dough rise time: 1 hour
boil time: 20 seconds
bake time: 13 minutes
- 1 1/8 cups warm water
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- coarse salt for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Mix together warm water, brown sugar and yeast. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes, until bubbles form.
- Measure 3 cups of flour into stand mixer’s bowl. Using the dough hook, turn the mixer onto low and gradually pour the yeast mixture into the bowl. Turn the machine up to a medium speed until the dough comes together and is completely formed into a ball. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes.
- Place kneaded dough into a medium sized bowl that has been lightly oiled.
- Cover bowl with kitchen towel and let rest for one hour, or until it’s more than doubled in size.
- Place dough onto a floured surface and divide into 8 balls. Roll each ball into a 20″ rope and cut 1″ sized pieces. Each rope should yield about 12 pieces of dough.
- Bring 8 cups of water and 1/2 a cup of baking soda to a boil. Drop the dough pieces in, 12 pieces at a time for 20 seconds total. Drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all dough pieces have been boiled for 20 seconds.
- Using butter, grease a cookie sheet. Place drained dough pieces onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 425 for 10 minutes, or until browned on top.
- Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush with butter and sprinkle with coarse salt. After buttering and salting, flip the pretzels and bake for 3 more minutes more on the other side, so both sides are crisped.