Overcoming a Cooking Challenge

Nearly every weekend Teddy and I drive twenty minutes to our favorite brunch spot, Little Flower Bakery in Pasadena. The array of pastries, sandwiches and cookies are all tempting, but our favorite menu item is their buttermilk pretzel rolls. These rolls are soft yet crunch, flaky yet smooth. They are everything a pretzel roll should be and so much more…

For Christmas my mother-in-law bought me their recipe book, which tells you how to bake these delectable little rolls. I knew I had to make them, since they cost a whopping $30 per dozen, but I had been delaying, because the recipe looked too complicated and I thought there was no way I was advanced enough to attempt bread-making. Well, I’m here to report that my rolls came out perfectly browned, soft, flaky and, best of all, WARM! So, if you’re ever nervous about making a certain recipe, I say, “Conquer your culinary fears!” Believe me, it’s worth it.

Below are some pictures of my baking adventure. Enjoy!

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And so it begins…

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The dough took one hour to rise…

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Little knots ready to be boiled..

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The boiling process was the part that scared me the most, but turned out to be surprisingly easy..

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Baking in the oven…

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And finally, the finished product!!!

 

Meal Planning

Meal Planning with colored title

 

Planning your dinner:

Dinner planning is an essential activity to my Sunday routine, usually followed by a smoothie and hopefully a trip to the beach.

Meal planning is a great way to ensure you eat healthy and stay on budget all week. I like to incorporate new recipes, at least one slow cooker recipe and a few past favorites. I also usually only plan meals until through Thursday night, giving us the weekend to splurge.

Here are a few of my meal planning rules to get you started:

1. Get a list of your favorite recipe blogs/books together and bookmark the pages of recipes you would like to make. When you run out of inspiration, you can always go back to these sources for a quick idea. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Skinnytaste Blog
  • The Whole Foods iphone app
  • Anything Ina Garten (her food is delicious)!

2. Plan at least one slow cooker recipe per week (Below is a link to one of my favorites). This will save you some time and give you a good option when you have a busy day

3. You can always move your days around. Busy Monday? Try making that simple salad for dinner instead of the roasted chicken.

4. Make recipes based on other recipes. This is probably the single most important rule if you’re planning to stay on budget. Look at recipes you are putting together and try to use similar ingredients. For example, if a recipe calls for spinach, use the leftover greens to make a side salad the next day.

5. Have fun with it! It’s always good to try new recipes, it makes something boring like meal planning just a little more exciting.

Here is a sample dinner meal plan I made a few weeks ago:

meal plan days

 

The only flaw in my meal planning plan is that I am not good at planning lunch. I tend to eat on a whim and often just seek out whatever I’m craving on my lunch break. Packing lunch is something I’m working on for now…