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How Tuesday – Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

1 May

Also known as the greatest thing I ever brought to a party.

I first found this recipe on pinterest, but it originated from Two Tiny Kitchens. I made this a few weeks ago on a Friday where I had a knitting night and a baby shower I had to bring something to. Which means I made a boatload. And how many did I bring home? Zero. That’s how good they were. You know how you bring food to a gathering sometimes and try to give away the leftovers and you can tell people take them reluctantly to be polite? Yeah, I didn’t even have to ask. People asked me. That’s right baby, from now on I will only be making peanut butter pretzel bites to take to soirees.  These are ridiculously easy to make. The hardest part is the assembly, but only because it takes a million years when you’re making 100 of them.

A few notes on the recipe:

  • If I were to do them over again I would put the melted chocolate into a piping bag and drizzle it over the bites. Dipping them in chocolate as the original recipe calls for left a big hunk of chocolate to bite into. I think a generous drizzle of chocolate over the whole pretzel would have tasted better, as the chocolate flavor would have been evenly distributed, and would have been easier to eat.
  • The original recipe says that the amount of sugar you’ll need may vary. I really found this to be the case. I think it has more to do with the type of peanut butter you use than anything else. I used an all-natural peanut butter that was just peanuts and salt, so there was a lot of peanut oil in it, making it pretty soft. The sugar acts like a thickening agent, so I’ll tell you how much I used, but know that you may use more or less depending on your peanut butter. The consistency is what you’re looking for more than anything.
  • These are in no way good for you. But they are amazing.

On to the recipe. As I mentioned before, this made about 100 bites, so if you want to make less you might want to half it, or follow the amounts noted in the original recipe.

Ingredients
4 cups creamy peanut butter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
3 cups brown sugar
Large bag of pretzels
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix peanut butter and butter together in a large bowl. Slowly mix in sugars, checking consistency as you go. You’re looking for the peanut butter mixture to become dry enough to roll into balls without sticking to your hands. Scoop out a heaping teaspoon of filling and form it into a ball, then sandwich it gently between two pretzels.

Lay out the pretzels on a baking pan lined with a silpat or parchment paper to avoid sticking. I made so many that I had to get creative with how I laid them out. A girl only has so many baking pans.

Put the pretzels in the freezer for at least half an hour to get them cold enough for the chocolate to set.

Once they’re chilled, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Dip each pretzel into the chocolate (or drizzle with a piping bag) and lay them back on the cookie sheet. Put the dipped pretzels back in the freezer until the chocolate is totally set, and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve up the peanutey chocolatey goodness. Stand back, and watch people go nuts.

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How Tuesday: Make the Best Tasting, Easiest Fish Ever

3 Apr

This is my favorite way to make fish. It’s healthy, yet gives you all the crispy goodness you love from fried fish. It uses only a couple of ingredients, is super quick, and makes you look like a culinary genius with extremely little effort. You can do this with lots of fish; I’ve prepared cod, tilapia, and halibut this way, but salmon is my favorite and what we’re working with today. Please forgive the blurry photos, my kitchen light isn’t the best right now.

Ingredients:

2 (or however many servings you need) 4 oz portions of salmon, cleaned, skin on
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Light mayonnaise
Juice of half a lemon
Panko bread crumbs
Cooking spray (I used canola)

Preheat oven to 425°.
Rinse fish off and pat dry with a paper towel. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Place fish skin-side down on the foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a small dish, mix together mayonnaise and mustard and lemon juice. Or you could go fancy and use a flavored mayonnaise and omit the juice. It’s up to your taste buds.

Spread mayonnaise mixture on the top of your fish. Aim for an even layer, just thick enough that you don’t see much fish showing through.

Sprinkle panko crumbs on top of the fish, pressing them into the mayonnaise mixture to make sure they stick.

Spray lightly with oil, so that the panko will crisp.

Pop into the oven for 15-17 minutes or until fish is opaque and panko crumbs are toasty brown.

Ta da!

If you got the skin crispy enough you can eat it, or just eat the fish leaving the skin behind for an even healthier meal. I love serving this with asparagus, but we went with sweet potato puree and peas tonight.

What are you having for dinner tonight?

How Tuesday: I Don’t Know Squat

20 Mar

from motivationintohabit on tumblr. this blog is awesome. click to check it out.

How perfect is this image? I found it after I wrote yesterday’s post, and was amazed at how well it fit. Anyway, on to the how to.

Apparently I’ve been doing squats all wrong.

My trainer took one look at my form and said, “Oh yeah. I can tell you run.”

“Really? How?” I asked.

“You’re quad-dominant.”

“….”

“When you squat your knees come pretty far in front of your feet, which means your quadriceps are doing most of the work. Because they’re stronger.”

Once he explained what quadriceps are, we were back on the same page. Now I’m doing squats leaning against a big inflated ball on the wall to keep my knees behind my feet and strengthen whatever muscles are along the back of my thighs. Trainer Kenny promises strengthening this muscle will keep my knees from popping out of place when I run. So I’m in. Plus, squats are a full-body exercise. If you do them correctly you engage your core and you work your arms while strengthening your legs. I hate them, they suck to do, but man, do they work. So here are the do’s and don’ts of doing a squat, according to Trainer Kenny.

DO:

  • Start with your feet a little wider than hip-width.
  • Slowly lower yourself down into a sitting position, aiming for a 90° angle in your knees at your lowest point.
  • Stick your butt out as you sink down, keeping your back straight and core engaged as you lean over. (I told Kenny this was very unladylike, and is still hard for me to come to grips with, mentally.)
  • Keep your knees even with your toes at your lowest point.
  • If your knees stick out too far, you might not be sticking your butt out far enough. Alternately, you can use an exercise ball propped against a wall and start with your feet further in front of you and roll yourself down like I do.
  • Slowly raise yourself back to a standing position.
  • Do a set of ten good squats, and add another set each day.
  • As an added option, raise your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height as you lower yourself to add resistance training to your arm muscles.

DON’T

  • No slouching or back rounding.
  • Don’t go further than a 90° angle. You risk knee injury if you do.
  • Don’t let your knees extend much over your toes. Again, knee injury can ensue.
  • No major angles on your feet. Your toes should be pointed more or less forward.

No one needs to see a picture of me doing a squat, so how about a nice drawing with the muscles you’ll be working highlighted instead?

from commonsensehealth.com. click for another great article on how to do squats correctly and how to add weights.

And in case you’re wondering what it looks like, here’s a squat using a ball.

image from about.com

Am I the only one who has been doing squats incorrectly? Do you have any go-to moves for building strength?

How Tuesday: A Treat, A Wearable, and a Illumination

13 Mar

Got a roundup of three DIY tutorials for you this week, all of which had me drooling at Pinterest. First up:

Love love love! I picture this scarf with a long sleeve tee, short(ish) skirt, tights and slouchy boots. Check out Suddenly Found for the full tutorial.

Doesn’t this look like the perfect light spring dinner?

Check out Baked Bree for the full how to.

I’m slightly obsessed right now with making a chandelier for my dining area. I thought this was inspired:

So industrial, yet organic. I love it. We have Homme Maker to thank for this creative DIY.

Seen any good DIY tutorials lately? Made one of your own? Link up below and share the DIY love!

How Tuesday: Freehand “Cloud” Nails

6 Mar

Hello, DIY lovers! This week I’m indulging my love of creative nail polish with a super easy tutorial for making freehand “cloud” nails. I love everything about this design; that you need no special skills to achieve it (if you can paint your nails and stay inside the lines you’re golden), and the fact that there are only about a million color combinations you could come up with. I found this tutorial at Nailside. Take a look:

cloud nails!

To get these nails visit Jane at Nailside for the full tutorial.

I’ve done several color combos of this design in the two weeks since I found it. Here’s what’s on my nails now:

my cloudy nails

In. Love.

I did the other hand as a mirror image to this one. I think it’s a little bit glam, a little bit rock. Just like me. 🙂

The colors are a little off, sorry about that. From the top color to the tip, the polish colors are as follows:

Zoya Maya, a jelly coral that’s way more tropical and bright than my crappy pic does justice to. It’s also on my toes right now.
Zoya Tao, a sofy, slightly shimmery grey.
Revlon Top Speed 880, Black Star, a gun-metal grey.
Clear base & top coat.

Or here:

maya

tao

black star

What colors would you make your clouds?

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