Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Soft Pretzels

These pretzels are amazing, we've made them 2 or 3 times in the last month.  They are very simple to make with our KitchenAid mixer and a real family pleaser.  We made some changes to the original recipe from Allrecipes.com, here is the link to the original recipe from Christa Rose that inspired all these delicious Noms.  Thank you Ms. Rose!!

Buttery Soft Pretzels
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cup water (110 degrees)
4-5 cups of flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups hot water
1/2 cup baking soda
coarse Himalayan salt

In the KitchenAid bowl mix 1 teaspoon sugar along with the yeast and warm water, let stand for about 10 minutes.  With the dough hook attached add the sugar, oil and one cup flour.  With the mixer on low continue to slowly add flour until it cleans the side of the bowl.  Knead for about 5 minutes.  I'm unable to tell if the dough is correct without hand kneading it, so I'll take the dough out the machine and knead on the counter till it feels smooth and elastic.  Cover the top with saran wrap and let rise for an hour until double. 

Turn the oven to 450 degrees.  Divide the dough into 12 pieces and then roll them out between your hands until they are 16 to 20 inches long long.  Alternatively, you can roll the pretzel dough into a large pancake and then cut it into 12 long strips, which saves time on the hand rolling.  I can't fold the ropes into pretzels without looking at pretzel folding directions each and every time.  Spray a large baking pan with non stick oil and place your pretzel masterpieces on the tray.  Mix the hot water and baking soda in a large bowl.  Once all the pretzels are rolled and folded into shape, dip them in the baking soda and hot water solution one at a time.  Sprinkle with freshly ground Himalayan salt and pop them in the top rack of the oven for 8 minutes.  Remove and enjoy while hot. 
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Daily Bread

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all our friends and readers.
Like some sensible birds my wife and I are migrating south for the winter.  It pains me to think of all the cold and rainy days we'll be missing in the Pacific Northwest's gloriously damp and blustery winter, but  its healthy to try new things.  Stay warm, my friends. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

ISS Over Seattle

See the International Space Station tonight: Thursday, Dec 19 4:56 PM, Visible: 5 min, Max Height: 50 degrees, Appears: W, Disappears: ENE.

Although, it was partly cloudy we saw the station as it glided across the sky in a bright blaze of white.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ISS Over Seattle

 
 Haven't seen the International Space Station on any of its recent passes, cloudy skies and rain have prevented any sighting.  Weather satellite shows a decent chance to spot the station tonight at 5:44 pm for 4 minutes.

Wed Dec 18 5:44 PM, Visible: 4 min, Max Height: 43 degrees, Appears: WNW, Disappears: NE

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ISS Over Seattle

The International Space Station glides over Seattle tonight, Tue Dec 17 at 4:56 pm.  Look for a very bright fast moving light appearing in the WSW and disappearing in the ENE.  The ISS will be visible for 4 minutes and the maximum height is 81 degrees, traveling almost directly overhead. 

 4:56 PM, Visible: 4 min, Max Height: 81 degrees, Appears: WSW, Disappears: ENE

Monday, December 16, 2013

Peas and Potatoes In Bechamel Sauce


This is an amazingly decadent vegetable serving.  New potatoes, frozen peas swimming in Bechamel sauce.  We mixed a double batch of Bechamel for this recipe.  We steamed the potatoes before hand, added the frozen baby peas and poured the hot Bechamel over the peas and potatoes.

Bechamel Sauce

2 1/2 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups skim milk
1 Teaspoon salt
dash of freshly ground nutmeg

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan.  Add the flour and toast until almost sandy colored.  While the flour and butter are browning preheat 2 cups of milk.  Slowly add the hot milk to the browned flour and butter while continuously whisking.  Bring to a boil, cook on medium heat while whisking almost constantly for 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, season with salt and nutmeg.  The result is a buttery creamy smooth Bechamel that goes very well with potatoes, peas, broccoli, fresh bread...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

ISS Over Seattle

This is one holiday sight you don't want to miss; the International Space Station glides over Seattle tonight.

Sat Dec 14 5:44 PM, Visible: 3 min, Max Height: 74 degrees, Appears: SW, Disappears: ENE

Happy Friday

Credit: ESO, Large Image
In the constellation Sagittarius lies Messier 17, or the Omega nebula.  This beautiful star factory lies within our own Milky Way galaxy and is only 5,500 light years from Earth.

Wallpaper 1024x768 Courtesy of ESO

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Daily Bread

This loaf featured one heaping tablespoon of diced sun dried tomatoes added along with the flour, water and yeast.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Apple Pie

Happy Friday

Credit: NASA, ESA
NGC4650A is an unusual galaxy, one of only a hundred known polar-ring galaxies.  This unusual configuration is thought to be a result of a collision between two galaxies over a billion years ago.  NGC 4650A lies 130 million light years from Earth.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Time To End Afghanistan Nonsense

The US military brass will never want to leave Afghanistan.  Our Government is negotiating with Afghansitan to keep our troops there till 2024.  I can't think of one good reason to keep any of our troops there.   It's way past time to end America's longest war and bring our troops home.  Sign this petition to bring our troops home by 2014 or get an authorization from congress to stay for extended stupidity.

Petition to End the War in Afghanistan
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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Friday

Credit: ESO
The constellation Orion is a prominent sight on Northern Hemisphere winter nights. The Orion nebula is the middle "star" in Orion's "sword" and is visible to the naked eye.  This brilliant stellar nursery is located in our own Milky Way galaxy and is 1300 light years from Earth.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Homemade Lowfat Caesar Salad Dressing


Our nephew Bob taught us how to make this very tasty, lowfat, quick and inexpensive Caesar salad dressing.  The recipe makes just enough for a large salad with no leftovers.  It has quickly become our favorite.

Bobby's Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 finely minced garlic clove
3-4 Romaine hearts
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in a small bowl.  Place the dried and cut Romaine in a large salad bowl, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top, add the dressing,  toss well, sprinkle with croutons and serve.  Note: The salad dressing does not stick to the lettuce leaves very well if the Romaine is wet.

Friday, November 22, 2013

GOP Obstruction

About time the senate put a stop to this filibuster nonsense. 

Happy Friday

Credit: ESO, large image here
The Omega nebulae or M17 is approximately 5,000 light years from Earth and is one of the largest and brightest star forming regions in the Milky Way galaxy.  The Omega Nebula lies within the constellation Sagittarius and is visible with binoculars.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013