Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites

B loves anything cinnamon sugar flavored. Snickerdoodles? Yes. Cinnamon buns? Definitely. Cinnamon French toast? Of course! Cinnamon donuts? Yes. So when searching for a different type of dessert recipe and I stumbled across these, I knew I had to make them. The warm cinnamon sugar doughy bites and sweet dipping sauce? Omg. I swear, I made them for B…not me. Not at all.

Regardless who they were for – they were SO delicious. If you have a potluck to go to and want to impress with a delicious finger-food-friendly dessert, I highly recommend you make these. They’re best eaten the day of, so get baking now!

 Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites (inspired by Cooking Classy and Cook Craft Love)
Here’s what you need for the pretzels:
  • 2¼ tsp active yeast
  • 1¼ cups warm milk
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups flour, plus up to 1/4 more for sprinkling/working the dough
  • ¼ cup baking soda

For the coating:

  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
For the Dipping Sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs half & half
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Here’s what you do:
  1. Combine warm milk, add honey and yeast in a mixing bowl. Whisk together and let rest for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to get bubbly.
  2. Add flour to mixing bowl and mix with dough hook attachment until combined. Once the dough has combined, continue to knead on low until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Dough should be soft and somewhat sticky.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm or room temperature environment for 1 1/2 hours or until nearly doubled in size.
  3. Fill a 4 qt pot with water and bring to a boil and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Shape dough into a ball. Cut the ball into 4 quarters and roll each quarter into a log about 16-18 inches inches long. Cut each log into about 3/4 in-1 inch bite-sized pieces.
  4. Slowly add baking soda to water about one Tablespoon at a time – don’t add it all at once or you may boil over. Place about 8 dough balls into boiling water at a time and boil for 30 seconds. Remove dough from boiling water and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to dry. Do this until all pretzel bites are boiled
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or other nonstick paper and add bites to cookie sheet, evenly spaced.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees for 9-10 minutes or until brown.
  7. While the dough is cooking, feel free to make the dip. Cream together cream cheese, butter, half and half and powdered sugar until dip reaches your desired thickness.
  8. Remove bites from oven and allow to cool for 8-10 minutes. After cooled somewhat, dip the bites into melted butter and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Enjoy with the dip!
 Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites and cream cheese dipping sauce

Mother’s Day Weekend

For some reason, this year Mother’s Day weekend, felt a little different than past years. I felt much more like a mom this year than I ever have before. Yes, it’s technically my second (or third, depending on who counts) Mother’s Day, but for some reason, I feel much more deserving of the title this year. Maybe because I have a toddler who runs around and calls me mom? Maybe because I’m (as B calls it) 1,000 months pregnant?

Anyway, being a mom is HARD, but some weekends are just great. And this was one of those weekends. It was definitely a weekend where I loved being a mom!

The weekend started actually with Muffins with Mom at school. I got to stop by FW’s classroom on Friday morning before work for breakfast!

And it was a pretty gorgeous day, so after work that night B, FW and I went for a short walk around the neighborhood. FW loves running! 

Saturday started with some flowers to celebrate Mother’s Day 🙂 Call me basic, but I will ALWAYS love a nice bouquet. 

Saturday morning ALSO started with a 5k! There was a race starting a few blocks from our house, so we decided to do it. I haven’t done a race in FOREVER and I knew it was going to be a lot of walking and VERY slow running, but I’m so glad we did it. (Disclosure – B pushed FW in the stroller while I ran)

FW’s favorite part was likely the muffins afterwards 🙂

After the race, we walked back to the house and did some baking! FW helped mix things up.

These were the “muffins” we made. The recipe was for muffins but I’m not too sure what makes these muffins and not cupcakes …

And then, FW decided he was tired and wanted to nap. On me! It’s been a while, and it was actually kind of a nice way to spend an hour. 

Later that afternoon, we went to the West Side Market to pick up some groceries. 

And then Rising Star for some coffee. FW enjoyed his chocolate milk 🙂

And then B made us pizza for dinner! We haven’t had homemade pizza in FOREVER and it was a nice change.

Sunday morning, FW didn’t wake up until around 8 – which was a great Mother’s Day gift! After he woke up, B and FW took a trip to get me a Mother’s Day specialty – a cassata cake doughnut. These are some of the only doughnuts I really enjoy and it’s mainly because of the quantity of frosting and cream.

This photo doesn’t do it justice.

After breakfast (doughnut and some fruit/yogurt per my request), we took a long walk. More than four miles while FW slept in the stroller.

We saw some geese and baby geese on the walk – it was a cute thing to see especially on Mother’s Day!

And then, FW got to spend some time at the nearby playground.

For dinner, we joined B’s family per our Sunday night tradition. B ended up making the whole family dinner and it was delicious – we had two different types of fish, grilled eggplant and an arugula salad.

Baking, a race, a long walk and cassata cake doughnut – for me, that is the perfect Mother’s Day weekend!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like doughnuts? What kind?
  • What makes something a muffin vs. a cupcake?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps.

Toddler-Friendly Foods: Spinach, Zucchini and Carrot Muffins

FW is a picky eater. He won’t touch any vegetables or meat*, and there are even just a few fruits he enjoys. His favorite food groups are: bread, bananas, plain Greek yogurt and cheese.

FW does, however, LOVE muffins. And anything remotely sweet. So, I’ve been making a lot of muffins lately, and trying to hide in as many veggies as I can. These muffins are a go-to in our house. You could probably omit some of the honey if you wanted them even lower sugar, but each muffin has about 9 g. of sugar, which is less than is in most non-plain yogurts.

These are easy, a fun color, and I enjoy eating them too! Try them out for yourself. They’re also FW (aka picky eater)-approved 🙂 AND, with their bright green color, they’d be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Spinach, Zucchini and Carrot Muffins - i crashed the web - toddler friendly food and breakfast

Spinach, Zucchini and Carrot Muffins
Makes 18-20 muffins

Here’s what you need:

  • 6 ounces raw spinach
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large banana
  • 1/2 cup milk (I’ve used unsweetened almond milk as well as whole milk, it depends on what I have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, beaten (I’ve also used .25 c Egg Beaters)
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, or use silicone muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray (I have green and pink ones which FW loves to eat out of, so that’s what I tend to use).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In your blender or food processor (I put mine in my Vitamix), mix first 7 ingredients (spinach through butter) until completely pureed. Add in egg.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Mix together until just combined. Do not over-mix or muffins will be tough!
  5. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into muffins comes out clean.

Spinach, Zucchini and Carrot Muffins - i crashed the web - toddler friendly food and breakfast

*Confession – FW did eat some meat somewhat recently – I snuck some ham into (you guessed it) a corn muffin!

Some questions for you:

  • Any tips for picky eaters?
  • Any favorite lower sugar muffin recipe?

Another Wintry Weekend In the CLE

Is anyone else sick of this winter? It has been cold and icy and snowy here for weeks and I’m so ready for warm weather and sunshine and a clear sidewalk to walk and run on!

Okay – enough complaining I suppose. Because despite the weather, it was still a good weekend spent with B and FW. I was sick most of the weekend, so it was pretty laid back and low key.

We of course had to start the weekend by celebrating National Pizza Day with my favorite pizza- Marottas!

Saturday, B made FW and I some pancakes to kick off breakfast. Fun fact- I never used to like pancakes or sweet stuff for breakfast- I was much more of a savory breakfast food lover – until pregnancy.

We spent some time later that afternoon at the West Side Market; we used to shop there all the time when we lived downtown, but now we only make it there maybe once every other month or so.

And of course we had to visit Rising Star for some coffee and chocolate milk (tea for me from Cleveland Tea Revival).

After the Market it was time to hit up the Great Big Home and Garden Show! I had won tickets in an online giveaway from Cleveland Magazine and it was a great way for us to get in some running around time and get Francis moving even with the cold weather.

Saturday night, B made us dinner – spaghetti, meatballs and homemade sauce.

Sunday morning we decided it was warm enough and finally not snowing/icing/raining/sleeting/etc. to go for a walk, so we walked to brunch!

FW got tired of walking, so B carried him. He then fell asleep in the carrier

We split some eggs and a  lemon crepe. FW was suspicious of the crepe until I told him it was like a  cookie 🙂

Sunday afternoon after our walk was pretty lazy. I got in some rest, some baking and some peanut butter making.

I realize I can’t remember the last time I bought any nut butter at the store! I got my Vitamix about a year ago and it has been the only way we’ve been doing peanut or almond butter. I LOVE having it and need to use it more!

Sunday night included dinner with B’s family and that was about it. We watched the Olympics with them for a little bit – it was the first time I’ve watched any of the events! I need to start getting into them.

Some questions for you:

  • Are you watching the Olympics?
  • What type of nut butter(s) do you like?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Cousin Weekend – One Sentence Per Photo Style

It was another cold weekend in Cleveland, filled with plenty of fun indoor activities to keep us busy. Here are some of the highlights – and let’s see if I can keep it to one sentence per photos.

First, FW started a new daycare – he enjoyed snacktime as you can see!

We did some baking this weekend – starting with cookies. 

And of course some more spinach muffins; this time they had zucchini.

Some Vietnamese food takeout for dinner.

Out to breakfast Saturday morning!

FW’s cousin came up from Columbus, so we seen some time indoors. 

The Natural History Museum was a great place for two toddlers to run around and scream/growl at dinosaur bones.

And look at lots of big animals!

And yes, we did play a little bit outside. 

Sunday was a little “warm” (36 degrees!) so it included a mid-morning walk – we went to the bakery and FW fell asleep.

We picked up lunch and brought it over to Celia’s house, where FW played with the new baby Maura. 

And of course, we watched the Super Bowl – but it mostly meant FW got to hang out and play with his cousins (yes, more cousins!).

And, that’s a wrap! Another winter weekend is in the books. Can’t believe it’s February – 2018 is flying by. I hate when time goes by fast, but I wouldn’t mind warmer weather soon!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you watch the Super Bowl for the game or the commercials?
  • What do you do if you need to spend time indoors? Where do you go to stay entertained?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Three-Day Weekends Are Better Than Two-Day Ones

This is the OMG IT’S A THREE-DAY WEEKEND?! face.

Okay, maybe not – this was his face when we went out to breakfast, because that’s how our weekend started. With pancakes! I got the lemon ricotta pancake because it’s truly the best. It’s custardy and I pretty much am in love with anyone and everything lemon that’s sweet. I also don’t typically put butter or syrup on them either, because they’re just so good.

Friday started out with 58 degrees and rain (and a run in short sleeves!) – and then it ended up with sleet and then snow. The weather actually got so bad that my Friday night plans had to change. I was originally supposed to have a girls night with my sisters-in-law and go to the art museum to see their new Jazz Age exhibit, but due to the weather, the museum closed early!

Luckily, our dinner plans didn’t fall through and we were able to have some french food at L’Albtross.  We started with cheese …

And after our main course, ended with dessert!

Saturday was pretty good too. The day included some surprise chocolates from B — Mitchell’s has some great chocolates near me, and I love their pretzels and chocolate covered ginger.

The day also included a 2+ hour car nap for FW!

While he napped, I baked some zucchini breakfast cookies for FW to hopefully enjoy. They weren’t that sweet, but I’m hoping FW will want to eat them for breakfast. 

After the nap, we headed to the art museum to finally catch the Jazz Age exhibit. Since the museum was closed early Fri. night, we were able to exchange our tickets and go Saturday.  All of us ladies couldn’t all schedule the same time, but

I was able to go with B and FW – and Katie – instead.

The exhibit was great! It had so many cool parts and pieces – jewelry, textiles, cars, dresses, and more.

After the art museum, we went to Little Italy for some pizza and dessert.

It was a cold night but we had to walk to get some pastries, too!

Chocolate cannoli and rainbow cookies. My favorite!

Sunday morning started off with some ME time! B and FW went outside to brave the cold and get in some sleighing, while I stayed home. I was able to get in a short run and walk.

I was also able to start some cookies (and do some laundry,  but that’s not as exciting 🙂 ) – so that means I baked TWICE this weekend!

We finished off Sunday with a trip to visit our friends’ new baby girl (she is so sweet!!!). I brought some of the cookies over and B made some homemade chicken soup to bring as well.

And then it was time for a Polish-inspired dinner with B’s family, where FW enjoyed playing with his cousins. Pretty much perfect comfort food for a COLD weekend!

FW’s daycare is closed tomorrow, so I’m spending the day with him. Thus, the three-day weekend! Some questions for you:

  • Any tips for keeping a toddler entertained when it’s cold and snowy/icy outside?
  • Do you like Polish food?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Why Can’t Weekends Last Forever?

Why can’t weekends last forever? But seriously – shouldn’t they be even at least a little longer? Can someone figure out a way to make that happen? Because some weekends – like this past one – are just pretty great.

Friday started with going out to breakfast with B and FW. We got some fruit and eggs for FW and some amazing lemon ricotta pancakes for me. FW actually ended up eating most of my pancakes – he loved them!

That night, I was in the mood for some Vietnamese food. So, after little outing to my favorite Asian grocery store (we picked up some more Vietnamese coffee and canned jackfruit), we grabbed some dinner at Superior Pho. I got some bun with an egg roll – it was amazing!

Saturday morning started off with a run with my friend Nicole. We used to run together all the time when we both lived downtown and it was great to run together. I should’ve taken a selfie of us together like I used to! Instead, just a selfie of me.

Then, there was some time to hang out with FW. Which meant a few books were read – the little guy loves reading.

That afternoon, some friends came into town and they went to B’s high school football game. FW went too (and was dressed for the part to root for Ignatius).

While they were gone, I was busy! And it was all great stuff. I watched part of a chick flick – the Holiday! It’s not quite the holiday season yet, but the movie is great all year long in my opinion.

Without a baby and husband, I made meatballs (well, sorta – B had already gotten the meat ready – I just balled them all up and cooked them ) …

I also did a bit of baking. I baked some chocolate cake and some buckeye bars. 

Saturday afternoon included hanging out with some friends from out of town (unpictured) and eating said delicious meatballs.

Sunday morning started with a short walk with FW to pick up some pastries to enjoy with our out-of-town guests. FW enjoys cinnamon croissants 🙂

The day also included some housework – cleaning and raking. 

That afternoon, we decided to check out a little street fair happening not to far from our house. It was fun to be able to walk to it!

We decided to stop by the local bookstore and pick up  few items. Including a hedgehog book for FW!

I hope he likes hedgehogs as much as I do 🙂

The night ended with some homemade pizza. I love B’s pizza!

So yeah, it was a pretty great weekend. Can we do it all over again?

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your go-to Vietnamese order?
  • When was the last time you baked?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!