Peppermint Bark

While I’m at it, we made a tiny batch of peppermint bark today, just for fun.

Peppermint Bark

~2 blocks of white almond bark (be sure to get the kind that’s not full of trans fats!)
~Some Peppermint extract, maybe 1/4 teaspoon, to taste.
~Some Vanilla extract, about the same amount.
~Peppermint sprinkles or leftover candy canes or starbright mints, crushed.

Melt your candy in the microwave in a glass bowl, per the directions. Mix in your extracts. If you want to get fancy, you can gently swirl in a drop or two of red food coloring. Pour onto a cookie sheet that has aluminum foil on it and spread it thinly. Add sprinkles or crushed mint bits. Chill for 10min and break into pieces.

Soft Pretzels

These were really tasty and the kids had lots of fun making them. They had a hard time manipulating the dough, so I had to do most of it, but they had fun trying.

This is adapted from a Food Network recipe.

Soft Pretzels

~ 2 tablespoons warm water, plus 1 1/3 cups warm water
~ 1 package dry yeast
~ 1/3 cup brown sugar
~ 4.5 cups flour (I used 2.5c all-purpose and 2c White Wheat and will probably switch the proportions next time)
~ 1/2 cup baking soda
~ Kosher salt
~ Cashew Butter for mommy

In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 tablespoons warm water with the yeast to dissolve it. Then stir in the remaining warm water and brown sugar.

Place bowl on a mixer and using a dough hook, gradually add the flour and continue mix. If using whole wheat flour, add it last.

Turn it out onto a work surface and beat the tar out of it to make it as smooth as possible.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Bring 2 quarts of water and the baking soda to boil in a stock pot (it will bubble up considerably – you need room to allow that).

Cut dough up into golf ball size pieces. Then roll them into worms, 1/2-3/4″ thick. Shape into classic “pretzel” shape or make your initials or just make worms, which is pretty much what we did. Press any “joints” firmly as they are likely to come undone in the water otherwise.

With the kids watching, drop it into the boiling water for 30 seconds then fish it out and place it on the greased sheet pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt while wet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. They are extra yummy with cashew butter or whatever nut butter you have on hand.


I don’t make them. Why? Because by mid January, they are usually all but forgotten, leaving only the lingering scent of guilt behind.

I’ve read that people who write down their goals are more likely to succeed in achieving them. Seems plausible – if you go to all the trouble to write them down, you must be serious, right? Or maybe there’s more to it?

So I have some goals. And I’m writing them down on paper. I won’t call them resolutions because I’ve been working on some of them for a while now, but now’s as good as any time to document the process, I suppose.

New Year’s Day Minestrone

We had soup today; it turned out well. The three year old just stared at it and the five year old liked it a lot except for the “juice,” but the baby and I loved it. Mister Lawyer will be weighing in his opinion once he gets home.

Thanks to Lost Button Studio for giving me the basic recipe for this, but I did change it up, mostly because the sacker at Kroger gave several of my bags to the person after us today and I will have to go back and reclaim what I didn’t take home today. Having already put one beastling down for a nap and two out to play, I didn’t have it in me to scoop them all back up and drag them to the store. So here is the modified version, which, as mentioned, was quite good:

New Year’s Day Minestrone

~ 2 tablespoons olive oil
~ 1 cup frozen, chopped, onion
~ Sea salt and cracked black pepper
~ One large box chicken broth
~ 3 large zucchini, quartered and sliced
~ Bag of frozen, coined, carrots
~ 3 cans (14.5 ounces) kidney beans (I used 2 x Organic 3 Bean Mix and 1 x Red Beans)
~ 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning, pureed
~ 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
~ 1 cup dried whole wheat or whole grain pasta (This would be ideal, of course, but I was forced to steal the shell noodles out of a free box of Hamburger Helper due to the Sacker Incident).

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add the broth and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables, beans, tomatoes, pasta, and Italian seasoning. Cook about 15 minutes until pasta is tender. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

I will prepare this again soon similarly as I did today, but definitely with the whole wheat pasta.

Happy New Year!

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