Recipe: Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

This makes a fabulous take-along for a Christmas gathering. Or, in my case, a Halloween one! Or, a Sunday-afternoon-sit-on-the-couch-gathering-of-one. 🙂 Many thanks to Erika Beth over at Life’s Too Short to Skip Dessert for this fantastic recipe!

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

Ingredients

1 bag (16 oz.) pretzels (I used snaps, mini-twists are great too!)
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place pretzels in large roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour over pretzels and stir to coat. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, removing every 10 minutes to stir.

Notes

  • The stirring is important. When you first pour the mixture over the pretzels it may seem like there is too much liquid. But the coating “bakes” right onto the pretzels and there’s no liquid left after the oven time! The stirring allows the coating to bake onto every pretzel, not just those on the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • A printer-friendly version of this recipe can be found here.

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels


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Three for Thursday: Christmas Reads

I like to try to read something Christmas-y during December, and somehow I manage to find great stories each year! Here are three of my favorites.

The Christmas TrainWhen you think of David Baldacci you probably think of legal thrillers and crime dramas. And he’s among the best there is for that genre. But every once in awhile he steps out of form and writes something a little bit different, and just as wonderful. The Christmas Train is my favorite Christmas book ever. I’ve read it more than once and enjoy it each time. Tom Langdon isn’t allowed to fly due to an unfortunate security incident, so he boards a train for a cross country trip during the Christmas season. He meets a delightful and eccentric collection of passengers and delivers a heartwarming Christmas tale complete with a few Baldacci-type twists to keep things interesting!

The Christmas BusYou might think I’m on some sort of transportation kick when I mention the name of one of my other Christmas favorites: The Christmas Bus. The town is Christmas Valley, and this is their season! But nothing seems to be proceeding normally this year, and the interesting collection of characters will keep even the Scroog-est among us entertained throughout. Strangers are staying at Shepherd’s Inn, a young couple about to welcome their first child roll into town in a large bus, and Mad Myrtle is causing problems. Meet them all during a brief trip to Christmas Valley!

Lakeshore Christmas

I’ve previously reviewed Lakeshore Christmas as part of my Lakeshore Chronicles series post, but it bears repeating here as one of my favorite Christmas-season charmers. Maureen Davenport is Avalon’s prim and proper librarian. What happens when she’s forced to work with wild-boy and former child star Eddie Haven? Fireworks! But, somehow together they plan the town’s annual Christmas pageant. Again, even though it sounds like a romance, there’s so much more to it!

Have a wonderful December!


Disclosure: The Amazon links on this page are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission. For a full FTC-required disclosure statement please visit my About page.


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Recipe: Brat Wraps

Whenever I write “brats” in an email, my non-midwestern friends think I’m talking about mischievous kids. No, I’m not suggesting you wrap up your children. These are bratwurst. Enjoy!

Brat Wraps

Ingredients

1 large onion
1 or 2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
water
6 fully cooked bratwurst, any variety
6 slices cheese, any variety
6 flour tortillas, warmed

Brat Wraps

Directions

Slice onion. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cook onions over medium heat until very soft and very well-browned. If the onions begin sticking to the pan during cooking, add about a tablespoon of water and stir. This also serves to loosen all the good-tasting “bits” cooked to the bottom of the pan. Regardless of whether the onions have stuck or not, add about two tablespoons of water to the pan when onions are done. Stir, and set bratwurst on top of onions. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes until brats are heated through.

Top each tortilla with a slice of cheese, a bratwurst, and some of the onion mixture. Roll up and serve.

Notes

  • I always make these ahead of time. I don’t warm the tortillas. I roll each wrap in a sheet of waxed paper, and they last a week in the refrigerator. Heat for 90 seconds on high in the microwave when ready to serve.
  • Use any variety of bratwurst you like. Our favorite is turkey cheddar.
  • We use whole wheat tortillas. Healthy and yummy!
  • We use American cheese, but any variety will work.
  • A print-friendly version of this recipe can be found here.

Brat Wraps


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Recipe: Monkey Muffins

A yummy, indulgent breakfast treat! Super simple too!

My usual PW disclaimer: This is not my recipe. It belongs to The Pioneer Woman who pretty much ranks right up there as one of my all-time idols. She’s funny, she’s a great cook, a fantastic photographer, and a rancher. It doesn’t get much better than that. Visit her site if you get a chance. Her recipes are fabulous with wonderful pictures and her stories will make you laugh out loud.

You should absolutely look up the original recipe since hers is so much more detailed than mine with many more (and better) pictures. The only pictures we remembered to take before we dove in were on our phone. They’re not half bad though!

Monkey Muffins

Ingredients

Refrigerated biscuit dough (I bought two, 5-biscuit cans of Pillsbury Grands and that was way too much dough for 12 muffins.)
Butter
Sugar
Cinnamon
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place about 1/2 teaspoon cold butter into each of 12 muffin tins. Add about a teaspoon of sugar to each tin. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon (maybe 1/8 or 1/16 teaspoon for those of you who like to measure).

Cut your biscuit dough into small bites the size of walnuts. If you are using Grand-sized biscuits, this is 6-8 pieces per biscuit. Add three pieces to each muffin tin. (Resist the urge to add more. They will rise. I made this mistake!)

Add another round of sugar and cinnamon, maybe a bit less than you added the first time through. Top with another half-pat of butter.

Bake in the preheated 375-degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with sweetened condensed milk. Allow to set for a bit (< 5 minutes) then scoop out and enjoy!

Notes

  • Remember, The Pioneer Woman’s blog about this recipe has many (much better!) pictures and humorous instructions.
  • I used fat-free Sweetened Condensed Milk and never knew the difference!
  • You can also use leftover bread dough, or store-bought frozen bread dough (which you have previously thawed). The only difference is that you should allow it to rise a bit in the muffin tins prior to baking.
  • A print-friendly version of this recipe appears here.

Monkey Muffins


Many thanks to my photographer!
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Three for Thursday: My Three Favorite Online Shopping Sites

‘Tis the season for online shopping! I’m sure I won’t be introducing you to anything you don’t already know, but I do have three distinct favorites from among all the options.

Amazon – This is the biggie. There’s not much that can’t be found on Amazon. I find the prices to be reasonable, the selection can’t be beat, and I’ve had several positive customer service experiences, most recently with a defective weather station I needed to return. Return shipping was free, and they sent the replacement before I shipped back the defective original. Can’t beat that! (Note: I participate in Amazon’s affiliate program however the link here is direct and does not reference my compensation account. I would shop with Amazon regardless of the affiliation, especially since I’m completely addicted to my Kindle!)

Etsy – Please tell me you’ve shopped here! Etsy is a community of individual artists, craftsmen, and people like you and me (well, if I had anything worth selling!) who offer an incredible variety of typically hand-crafted wares at reasonable prices that you can’t expect to find at your local superstore. By using Etsy you connect directly with the artists and can often request custom-created items!

Zappos – I love shoes. Not in the traditional girlie Manolo Blahnik type of way, but rather in a more rugged, hiking boot vain. But it makes no difference! Whatever your pleasure, Zappos has you covered. With free shipping both ways, you can easily order yourself a few dozen pairs just to model in the comfort of your own home, then send back those you hate. They’ve brought shoe shopping to a whole new level. Zappos is my go-to shoe store! (P.S. They sell other things too, clothing, handbags, etc.)


The links contained in this post are direct (not affiliate) links and I have not been compensated for these reviews in any way. For a full FTC-required disclosure statement, please view my About page.


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Recipe: Personal Pot Pies

Nothing says comfort food like a good old-fashioned chicken pot pie. And with this recipe, everyone gets their very own. Simple, filling, delicious. It doesn’t get much better than that! (Plus you can use your leftover turkey from Thanksgiving if you’d like!)

Personal Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients

1/2 lb. frozen broccoli florets, thawed, diced
1/2 lb. frozen cauliflower florets, thawed, diced
1 pkg. refrigerated pie crusts (typically contains two crusts. You need two.)
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the pie crusts from the refrigerator and unroll onto a cutting board or piece of waxed paper. They are easier to work with if they sit out for about fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, cube your chicken and veggies. In a large bowl, stir together soup and milk until well combined. Add salt, garlic powder and pepper and mix well. Add chicken and vegetables and stir to coat. Cut each pie crusts into quarters (you’ll have eight pieces in total). Coat the inside of four one-cup ramekins with cooking spray. Line the bottom of each with a quarter of crust, molding it with your fingers to fit. Don’t worry, it won’t fit perfectly. In fact it probably won’t even cover the entire dish. Divide the filling between the ramekins. Top each with another pie crust quarter. Pinch the edges together and cut vents in the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes

  • No ramekins? No problem! Use disposable foil pans available in any grocery store (4-1/2 inches in diameter, 1-1/4 inches deep. Or thereabouts!)
  • You can also keep the pie crusts whole and make in a regular-sized pie pan or baking dish. I’ve never tried it but it will work out just fine.
  • I used low fat soup and skim milk.
  • You can use fresh broccoli/cauliflower if you prefer, but then be sure to cook it first.
  • You can substitute a bag of frozen mixed vegetables for the broccoli/cauliflower too, which makes it look more like the “normal” pot pie you grew up with.
  • Be sure to use the baking sheet, they drip!
  • A printer-friendly version of this recipe is available here.

Personal Chicken Pot Pie


Many thanks to my photographer!
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Three for Thursday: Thankful Things

My mom has a Thanksgiving tradition. Without fail, she’d corner us:

Name the three things you are most thankful for this year

Name the three things you are most thankful for this year.

Of course when we were kids we were thankful for the kitten, that we had the day off from school, and that Mommy made mashed potatoes.

As puberty hit, we were thankful for our BFFs, our hiked-up hair, and that they finally got us call-waiting.

As we got older we were too moody to participate, but deep down we were always still thinking about it.

Now we do it privately, no need for any announcements. I’m up early and thinking about my three thankful things as I prepare the festive meal to share with those I love. And I’d like to share my mom’s tradition with you. What are you most thankful for this year? Give it some thought as you enjoy your Thanksgiving traditions. 🙂

Autumn Beauty


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