super bowl worthy pretzels

 

Beside beers and wings, I’d say that pretzels are now pretty high on my list of must have for the Super Bowl.  Homemade pretzels, of course!  I found this recipe online, adjusted it, and now I’m telling you, you’ll never crave for ANY OTHER PRETZELS once you’ve tried these ones.  This is one AMAZING recipe.

I may not be a huge football fan, but I love the Super Bowl!  I have not missed one since I’ve been 8, or so.  I remember, during my first year of university, we threw a huge party in our apartment… we lived in a duplex, and we had installed 3 TV’s in our living room, with so much junk food, it was crazy!  I, myself, had made more than 200 wings.  I’d say we were close to 50.  Everybody came.  People were eating in the stairs, on side tables, on desk, on the floor… we couldn’t walk, people everywhere!  It was great.

Of course, the best halftime show still belongs to the King of Pop.  Nobody as never came close to beating Michael Jackson XXVII show.  But I’m crossing my fingers Lady Gaga will be just as good!

So if you’re watching the game (Go Pats/Go Brady) or even just watching the halftime show, what you NEED is some of these Pretzels.  I guarantee you will love them and your guests too!

What you need:

1 1\2 cups warm water

2 tbs brown sugar

1 package active dry yeast

1\4 cup melted butter

2 tsp kosher salt

4 1\2 cups flour

vegetable oil

2 liters of water

1\2 cup baking soda

1 egg yolk

sea salt

How to:

In you stand mixer with the hook attachment, add the warm water, sugar, butter and yeast.  Mix and set aside for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the salt and flour and add to the yeast.  Mix on low for 5 minutes.  If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour, one tablespoon at a time.  Remove the dough and knead for 2 minutes.  Place the dough in a greased bowl (vegetable oil), cover with a damp cloth.  Place the bowl in a warm place (I preheat my oven at 170, then turn it off and place the covered bowl in there for about an hour.  The dough should be soft and have doubled in size.

Once the dough is ready, throw a bit of flour on the counter and roll out the dough to form a rectangle.  I cut long strips with my pizza cutter.  Make a pretzel shape, knot or strips, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and let rise for another 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, boil the water in a large saucepan.  Once it boil, add the baking soda.  Put 3 or 4 pretzels at a time for 30 seconds.  Do this for all the pretzels and put them back on the baking sheet.  Mix the egg yolk with a bit of water and egg wash the top of the pretzels.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake at 425 for 12-15minutes.

I serve my pretzels with sriracha aioli or mustard.  Eat on the same day… but that shouldn’t be a problem!

So who’s coming over on Sunday?  Everyone’s invited.  As long as you cheer for our team!

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pink cinnamon buns…of course

Bring me all the pink stuff!!!  Valentine’s Day is around the corner and everywhere I look… pink heart-shaped everything are calling my name!

Of course I’ve already decorated my house for Valentine’s Day.  Well, I like to decorate for every occasion.  So for the next few weeks, my house and my blog will be flooded with pink!

Last weekend I made pink cinnamon buns, and like he always do when he loves something, Logan said ‘dell-licious’ after his first bite.

I’m sharing the recipe from www.sprinklesomesugar.com but you can use your own favorite recipe and just add some pink food coloring!

What you need:

Dough

-1 packet of active dry yeast

-1 cup of warm milk

-2/3 cup of sugar

-1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

-2 eggs lightly beaten

-1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

-4 1/2 cups of flour

Filling

-1/2 cup unsalted butter

-1 1/4 cups brown sugar

-2 tablespoon cinnamon

Frosting

-4oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

-1/4 cup unsalted butter

-1 cup icing sugar

How to:

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add yeast, warm milk and 1 tbs of sugar.  Stir and set aside for 10 minutes.  Add the rest of sugar, melted butter and beaten eggs until combined.  Add 3 cups of flour and then add one tablespoon at a time until you have a workable dough.  The dough should be sticky, do not add to much flour.  Mix for 5 minutes.  Place the dough in a greased bowl in a dry place to rise.  For about one hour.

While the dough is rising, mix the ingredients for the filling.  Once the dough is ready, place it on a floured counter and roll it out to form a rectangle.  Smear the butter mixture on the dough, and then roll the dough.  I made heart shaped buns by rolling both side until they meet in the middle.  Cut and place in a baking pan, creating hearts.  Allow the dough to rise again for 30 minutes.

In a 350 degree oven, bake the cinnamon buns for 25 minutes or until golden brown… or in this case, golden pink!

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth with no lumps.  Add the icing sugar.

Spread the icing onto the warm buns!  Dell-licious!

Enjoy with your loved ones.

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one amazing weekend

Every Sunday, about right after diner time, I end up asking myself the same question week after week: why are weekends so short?  This weekend was so much fun, but once again, it just went by way too fast…

Started with a lazy Friday night, pizza and a movie.  We finally watched Star Wars ‘The Force Awaken’.  It was an immediate hit, and I have a feeling that Star Wars will be part of our household for a while.  The boys loved it, and we all can’t wait to see the next one!  Well, except Brian who chose to binge-watch The Office instead.  Yeppers!

On Saturday, we had planned our first snowshoe outing and my sister-in-law Annick and her family were coming with us.  In the morning, Brian prepared his famous family soup (soupe aux coquilles à matante Aline) and made sandwiches for everyone.  One day I’ll talk about how awesome her family is; my boys are in love with their cousins Nini and Jay-Jay, her daughter and son.  So we all had lunch together, got ready, putted on our gear and headed out to Rockland’s golf course.  Within 5 minutes of being there, I knew it was going to be a hit!  I didn’t even had my snowshoes on and the boys had already climbed a snowbank with their mini snowshoes!  So we started our little venture on the never been touched snow, ready to try our new snowshoes.  By the way, if you’re thinking about buying some, now is the best time.  Everywhere you look, they’re on sale.  Bought the one for the boys at Giant Tiger for 30$ and they are great.

So we walked for maybe half an hour, stopped on a little bridge, watched the flowing water of the unfrozen creek, threw a few snowballs, made a few races and found some walking sticks.  My little Logan was a natural, leading the pack while not complaining once.  He was all about being the chief and having rosy cheeks.  Our entire adventure lasted only an hour (felt like 3!), but everybody had a great time.  We clearly found a new activity our family loves.  Plus it’s a great workout!  Win-win!

Went back home, all sat by the fire, our cousin Jojo joined us for a sleepover, played games and ordered the best Thai food in town!  Well, Brian and my brother-in-law actually drove to downtown Ottawa to get it, but it was so worth it!!!  Then stayed up way past our bedtimes listening to music we’d like to hear at our funeral… seems like an awkward discussion, but we had such a great time!

I’m all about lazy Sunday.  So in the morning, Jojo and I had homemade pink cinnamon buns and played bingo with the boys!  After lunch, I had to sneak in a little nap, you know, just because it’s Sunday and I can… but then I felt all rested and we decided to go back for snowshoeing round 2.  Bundled up the boys and packed up snacks, cause the boys wanted to go back for a picnic on the bridge at the golf course… Logan leading the way, we found our way back to the creek and had our picnic.  We did the same trail than the day before, then found more sticks, honestly, my kids can never have too many sticks… I don’t understand this one… it’s probably a boys thing!

We got home in time for the football game… and our team made it!  (Brian loves the Pats; I just love Tom!!!)  So Super Bowl 51 here we come.  Already planning on the menu… can’t wait!  And just like that, the weekend was over and I was already making plans for next Friday!

So, well, weekends may be short, but you know what, they’re just the best.  And I can’t wait for next one!

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liam turns bb-6

Our weekend shenanigans are over!  2 days, 3 birthday parties and 67 guests later…we are done!  Our  little man turned six on Friday.  How did this happened?  Six???  Maybe 3 or 4 but 6…bye bye baby.  It’s hard to see your first child growing up and it does go by so fast.  He’s changed so much in the last few months, he’s less clingy, talks with lots of new words and ask for our help much less than
before and the worst, he gives less kisses.  My heart is torn.  So I will stop with the drama of having a 6 years old and talk about our weekend festivities!

So I like a good party and my boys too!  A few months before their birthday, we talk about what they like, what they want and who they want to be there.  Star Wars was an easy theme, the boys still haven’t seen the movies but that’s about to change because we received them for his birthday.  Guest list, we have a big close family, we want everybody, so we had our friends come over for pizza on Friday night, a few of his school friends came yesterday morning and our families came over for some roasted hot dogs and cake last night!

Cakes, it’s always about the cakes!  I love making my babies their cakes.   It makes me so happy to create the things they love in sugar!  I made 6 cakes.  Baked  and decorated them all after school this week.  Star Wars decoration were really easy to find, lots from the $store, lots free on Pinterest and I bought the invitations and photo booth accessories from Etsy.  I made my t-shirt, another idea from Pinterest and Brian and the boys attire came from Gap Kids and Old Navy.  Bought some cheap wrapping paper before Christmas for the photo booth wall (new found favorite of Logan, taking photo booth pictures…we have at least 100!)

When we went to Boston in the fall, we visited one of my favorite stores, Pottery Barn Kids.  I love this place!  They have a Star Wars line that is to die for.  I want the Star Wars sleeping bags sooo badly.  I fell in loving with their marquee lit up sign.  I decided I (well I mean Frank) could do this way cheaper, like for less than 25$.  Found some Christmas string lights in clearance, painted a piece of wood, Frank drilled the sign and added the frame.  Put in the light and bingo, I had the most awesome marquee sign EVER.  I will put it up in their playroom, the light bulbs are in plastic, so unbreakable!  Win-win!

Of course we had a few games.  Our favorite, donuts-on-a-string, always a hit!  We decorated Star Wars cookies.  Also played, place the lightsaber on Yoda.  A BB-8 pinata was a must.  And we had the NOT so brilliant idea of buying lightsabers for all kids…do NOT attempt this when you are outnumbered!  I made little Jedi costumes for all the kids and took lots of photo booth pictures.

Food, we had soooo much.  Pizza, fries and poutine, wings, cookies, Princess Leia’s Buns, candy, chips, hot dogs, cupcakes, Edible Ewoks, Liam’s favorite raspberry pie, Yoda’s guacamole and CAKE!  I’m no eating until the next birthday…well maybe not but I do need to recover from this weekend!

So today we took down the decorations, played with toys and looked at all the pictures we took.  We love parties, we love our family and friends and most of all, we love our babies.  Happy Birthday Liam.  You deserve all the time we spent for your parties and more!  You’ve been one amazing little boy since the moment you were born.

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3 resolutions and a recipe

Sadly, our Christmas break is over.  On monday morning, the three of us were back at school.  Bittersweet, because it’s fun to go back to our routine and see friends and coworkers, but it was sooo much fun to spend those last 2 weeks at home with the boys.  I’m now counting the days till our March break! (then I’ll start counting the days till our Summer break… I guess I can’t complain!)

So, 2017, did you make any resolutions?  Usually I don’t.  But I’ve decided that I should try to improve myself, so there is goes.

#1 Be more patient… my Mom and husband are probably overjoyed by this first resolution.  I’m not always very patient, I like things my way and I like order; and I have two beautiful boys who are testing my patience daily.  So I want to try to make more time for them, listen to them and be more present, and when it won’t go the way I want it to go, I’ll try to take a breath and go forward without necessarily making them do it or act the way I want.  So to be more patient, flexible, agile and understanding with them.  We’ll see how it goes!!!

#2 Be more healthy.  Last year, I ran my first 10k race.  I was really proud of myself.  I trained hard and I did it.  After that, I kept running once or twice a week but with no other race in mind.  Unless you count the Disney Run… which is my dream race, and yes I’m planning on doing it soon, but right now there’s nothing ahead that I have to train for… and yeah, sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to go out and run just for fun… well that was in 2016… cause in 2017 I’d like to always have a race scheduled ahead, a goal, so I have a reason to go out and run!  So I want to register for the Ottawa 10k again but improve my time.  I also want to eat more healthy and make better nutritious choices for my family.  Less restaurant, fast food and treats.  More fruits and veggies, more homemade meals and plan more our weekly meals.  It’s 2017, it’s a new year, and I need to kill it with #2.

#3 Be more organized.  Organize our home, cupboards and pantries, closets, cars, basement, backyard and GARAGE.  Being more organized in my mind, setting goals and getting there.

All of these are doable.  I’ve been trying to become that better version of myself for years now, but in 2017, I will.  Never too late to change, and I feel like it’s time to stop trying or wishing for better and to just do it.

Do you take any resolutions?  I’d like to know what they are!  Inspire me! (for next year thought, as I have enough already for 2017!!!)

So for today, I’m leaving you with a restaurant worthy ham and cheese panini.

Easily the best sandwich I ever made, fresh, explosion of flavour and lots of cheese.  You can never have too much cheese, right?  Yes, I know what my resolution #2 is… but what do you want me to do with all that cheese I bought in 2016, it won’t eat itself, so I will!

Ham and Cheese Panini

Heat up your panini grill or a skillet.

Butter some rye bread.

Mix a tablespoon of Dijon mustard with a tablespoon of maple syrup.  Spread on the rye bread.

Add some slice aged cheddar cheese, shaved black forest ham, a few thinly sliced Granny Smith apple slices and some more CHEESE.

Place on the panini grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

Cut in half and serve with a lemon and oil arugula salad.

Enjoy!

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new year’s eve sleigh ride

I am usually not a fan of NYE.  You know, I never seem to know what to do, years after years wishing for a big elaborate and elegant party like they have in the movies… but always ending up half asleep before midnight wearing my pajamas!  I remember that my parents had fabulous parties when I was younger, sequins party dress, suits and an amazing time.  We did have those types of NYE parties at the Golf and Curling Club in Hawkesbury in the early 2000s, but after a few years of hearing Jive Bunny as first song of the party, we decided to call it quit!  And to be honest, I love to be with Liam and Logan on New Year’s Eve, so it’s kinda hard to go somewhere fancy and hope to party like a Rock Star while having them there with me.  So this year, we’ve tried something different, trying to create a new family and friends tradition… and we did, and it was the best NYE in a very long time!

We’ve been living in a suburb of Ottawa for 9 years, and every day on my way to work I drive across a Sleigh Ride sign maybe 10 minutes from home.  I always loved sleigh rides, and I thought it would be a fun family thing to do this winter, so I called to book a NYE sleigh ride a couple weeks ago, but they were already full for that day.  Which made me want to go (on that day) even more!  So I called again on the 29th, just to see, and guess what… they finally had an opening for the 31st at 3pm; so I booked it right away.  I’ve been on a few sleigh rides when I was a kid, but this one…it was just MAGICAL.

The sleigh can hold 15 people, so the first thing I did was to call my friends to inform them that they now had plans on the 31st… cause I already knew that just like us, they probably had nothing to do on NYE but spending the day in their pajamas with their kids… and I was right, so we now had exciting plans for NYE.  YES!

So there was a huge snow storm in Ottawa on the 31st… and when we got to the Beckett’s Creek Farms in Cumberland, it was just gorgeous with the snow falling, the huge old barns and the two big beautiful horses and wooden sleigh waiting for us.  We were ready for our ride, with, of course, some hot chocolate for our crew.  The kids were happy, but I was ecstatic!  Once we got on the sleigh it was breathtaking.  We rode in the most gorgeous forest.  I know I just said that it was breathtaking and now I am going to say that it took my breath away, but the scenery really did took our breath away.  Sometimes it was silent, with just the sound of horses pulling the old sleigh, sometimes we were singing along with the kids or just taking about how gorgeous it was. Middle of nowhere, huge snowflakes slowly falling on us, signing and laughing all the way through.

Half way, we stopped in a clearing of trees for 10 minutes; nobody but us.  We took some pictures, the kids made snow angels and threw a few snowballs.  Brian poured some hot cocoa for everyone and then took out his Beau’s New Lang Syne beer; we then got back on the sleigh and made our way back to the farm while enjoying our favorite drinks!

One hour sleigh ride full of smiles and laughs and pictures and memories; it was just priceless.  We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to spend our day together in this wonderful place.  As a side note, this year will be the last year of the Lalonde family Beckett’s Creek Sleigh Rides after doing this for many years, even going back the early 1900’s I believe.  So you can’t understand how that saddened me when I learned about it after 15 minutes in the trails while I had already made plans in my mind to do this again next year on NYE, and every other years after that.

So after the sleigh ride, everyone came back to our place, now finally all wearing our pajamas… we sat in front of the fireplace, had some drinks, some amazing snack food and my go to spaghetti and meatballs for diner, then made too many plans to count, which helped celebrate this new year and enter a new one.  The kids put on a show where they danced and sang for us; they were so proud!  But then we showed them how it was done Rock Star Style (or maybe more Celine Dion wanna be style!).  Found the craziest costumes and hats in my wardrobe, picked up a few hairbrush for microphones and before you knew it: the show must go on!  Let’s just say it was literally jaw dropping for our kids to see us perform and act crazy like we did!!!

Okay, well, I’ll talk about our singing and dancing group another time in another blog, but for now, just so you understand, we take ourselves pretty seriously when we perform!!!  And we think we’re pretty great at this, so when I say ‘act crazy’, it was more like a pretty spectacular NYE performance by The Whiskettes (even minus 2 key members and without any type of rehearsal)… Nothing like the Mariah Carey disaster in Times Square happening at the same time!

So we made it till midnight, cheered to the new year and wished each other only the best!  You know, I get why 2016 was a bad year for many, but 2016 was great to me and to our family.  We traveled, celebrated, spent times with the ones we love, made new friends, smiled a lot, and finally I got to create this blog!  So 2017, you’ve got big shoes to fill and I am ready for you.

Happy New Year everyone.  Santé, Bonheur et Succès.

 

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