Thursday, May 18, 2017

blueberry pie fudge and a chat about disappointment

Today I have blueberry pie fudge, folks! It feels so summery and it involves very few ingredients which I like as well. Before we get to the recipe let's have a little chat about....


Yep, disappointment. Why? Well, because this week has been rough and I believe in sharing stories because maybe someone else will feel like they aren't alone in their circumstances. 

I'm not even sure where to begin because I'm still in the stages of feeling super overwhelmed. More specifically, I'm feeling super disappointed in connection with something that I've been praying about for a very long time, and a feeling that I have no direction in life right now. There are so many wonderful changes and good things coming in the next few months in my personal life, but at the same time those changes have made me feel a sense of misdirection. Or if I'm being truthful, no direction. A lot of the things I've found identity in - ministry, career, relationships, etc. - are changing and I'm feeling quite off balance. Some things have changed as an answer to prayer, but I've been left feeling lost because the new things weren't nearly as exciting or fulfilling as I anticipated them to be. It's left me feeling empty and without a sense of direction. 

As I've tried to process through these feelings, I've just made myself feel guilty that I'm not happy. I've seen myself in a not so flattering light this week as I've had an adult temper tantrum on the inside while trying to keep a smile on my face on the outside. I'll let you guess how that turned out (answer: terribly). My point here is this: it's ok to be disappointed. It's ok to feel that feeling. It's ok to have a moment of panic when things don't turn out the way you expected. What's not ok is settling in to those emotions and buying a one-way ticket to pity-party-town. Believe me, I've done that too many times to count and it's not a great tourist spot. 

What should we do with all those feelings? I believe we should use them as a compass. Sometimes gathering information about what we don't like is as valuable as the information about what we do like. For me, I'm not a fan AT ALL of where I am in my career. My job is a snoozefest, and it's an endless cycle of delivering bad news to college students. What I've learned is I don't like to be the bearer of bad news, I don't like telling students there aren't options, and I don't particularly like to enforce federal regulations (many that I don't even agree with), and THAT'S OK! I don't have to love everything about everything.  What I do like is creativity in a good, supportive team and being an advocate for students who feel like they don't have options (if I were to stay in higher education). 

My point in all of this? Well, I think I just needed to write it out. This just seemed really therapeutic and my mind is already more at ease. 

How does all of this tie in to fudge? Well, I had a really bad attitude this week and allowed the confusion about my career and a few upcoming things in my future to plunge me into one of the worst weeks of anxiety that I've had. When I get anxious I close off, and I made this fudge for a person who loves me very much that I pulled away from. 

If you've displayed a bad attitude toward someone you love may I present these affection confections are a way to say, "I'm sorry for being a buttface for 5 days." 

Find the recipe over on Baker by Nature


Saturday, February 4, 2017

buffalo & cheddar pretzels

 Hey, hi, hello! I saw these pretzels on Half Baked Harvest this week and scrapped my plans for a coconut cake to replace it with these!

These perfect pretzels would be a fantastic Super Bowl snack since they're incredibly easy, extra tasty, and super quick. In the time it takes for the dough to proof you can prep the rest of your snacks and have your kitchen clean! I, of course, am just imagining this in my head because I will actually getting my hair cut during the Super Bowl! Will I be the only person not watching, or do you also have other plans?

These pretzels are perfect, seriously. That's the very first thing I thought when I bit into one of these. Absolutely perfect! They're soft, loaded with flavor, and the most satisfying size for a small snack. I also want to note that the inside of the pretzels are brushed with buffalo sauce lending the tiniest bit of spice. You can add more sauce for dipping obviously, but I was so happy with the flavors that I found I didn't need any. 

Buffalo & Cheddar Pretzels

recipe from Half Baked Harvest

2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/4 cups of AP flour**
1/2 cup buffalo sauce
12 cheddar cheese sticks, unwrapped
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons minced, dried onion
2 teaspoons minced, dried garlic
2 teaspoons coarse salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook combine sugar, yeast, and warm water until just combined. Let stand for about 5 minutes to bloom.

Once yeast has bloomed add melted butter, salt, and flour** to yeast mixture and mix on medium speed until dough comes together and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl to form a ball. 

Place dough ball into a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let dough rest and rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add baking soda to boiling water right before adding pretzels. 

Once dough has risen, remove from bowl and roll into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick on a clean surface. Cut dough widthwise into 12 even strips and brush liberally with buffalo sauce. 

Wrap each cheese stick with a strip of dough making sure the buffalo sauce is on the inside. Seal both ends. 

Boil pretzels 1 - 2 at a time for 30 seconds in the soda water. Remove pretzels with a slotted spoon. Place 6 pretzels each on two baking sheets covered with parchment then brush with the egg wash. 

Place sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion, garlic, and salt in a small bowl and mix generously. Cover unbaked pretzels liberally in "everything" spice before baking. 

Bake pretzels for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. 

** Original recipe calls for 4 1/4 cups of flour. I recommend adding only 4 cups of flour and letting it combine before determining if the dough needs more. If it does, add a few tablespoons of flour at a time until you get the right consistency.