Do me a favor – don’t even make these if you’re on a diet (like someone around here!). They didn’t last an hour. That big bowl. Gone in an hour. I’m sure it would’ve been closer to 30 minutes if we’d just had some mustard in the house.

Along with being ridiculously good, they were also so simple. I used my bread machine to make the dough so if you choose to go that route, just follow your manufacturers instructions. The only “difficult” part is getting them out of the baking soda/water quickly enough. They lose shape very fast once dipped in the water so watch carefully.

Like I said, so good. Spencer and I decided these will be added to our football food lists next season and they gotta be good to make that list!

(Oh, what I have pictures is half the recipe. I knew if I made the whole recipe, I’d eat those too.)

Pretzel Bites
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water about 110 F
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 package 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (I used instant)
  • 3 ounces 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled just slightly
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 quarts water
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 whole egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
  • coarse sea salt
  1. On low speed, mix the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the salt and 4 1/2 cups of the flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
  3. Spray a bowl with cooking spray (or oil with with vegetable oil), add the dough and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Spray two baking sheets liberally with cooking spray.
  5. Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring about 22 inches. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches of about 10-15 for 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon and place the pretzel bites on the prepared baking sheets, making sure they aren’t touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Remove to a cooling rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.

Oh blueberry muffins, how I love you.

You probably won’t be shocked at all to hear that when I decided to make blueberry muffins, the first thing I googled was “starbucks blueberry muffin”. I have a problem with their muffins obviously. I go searching for a copycat recipe every few months and each time I’m shocked that there isn’t one. So I’m working my way through recipes, changing things here and there to see if I can get close to my beloved Starbucks muffin.

This one was pretty close. The taste was right on but it just wasn’t as light and fluffy. I’m thinking maybe cake flour next time? We loved them though and it gets bonus points for only making 8 muffins. I halve just about every recipe I do so it was nice to not have to do any math.

Blueberry Muffins
from AllRecipes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.


Bananas are a favorite around here and most of the time I can’t buy enough, but every few weeks we all get burned out on bananas and a bunch or 2 just sits on the counter until I finally turn it into banana bread. That happened this week, only I wasn’t into the whole banana bread idea.

This cake was one of the best cakes I’ve made. It was almost like banana bread except not as dense as a bread and with caramelized bananas on top. I can only imagine how amazing it would have been with some fresh whipped cream on top.

Banana Upside Down Cake
For the topping:
  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 large ripe bananas. peeled cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
For the cake:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons 3/4 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons milk
To make the topping:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter melts and mixture is well blended. Pour into 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Spread to coat bottom of pan. Pour maple syrup over sugar mixture. Place banana slices in concentric circles on nuts, overlapping slightly and covering bottom.
To make the cake:
  1. Stir flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl to blend. Beat sugar and butter in another medium bowl until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk in 3 additions. Spoon batter over bananas. Bake until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer cake to rack. Run knife around pan sides. Cool cake on rack 30 minutes. Place plate over pan; invert cake. Let stand 3 minutes, then gently lift off pan. Serve warm with whipped cream.

My favorite thing about this time of year is the cheap strawberries. Target had them for $1 a pound this past week! I’m pretty sure we’ve had strawberries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner almost every night. No one’s complaining though!

Strawberry cupcakes are something I’ve wanted to make for awhile but I’ve just never gotten around to it. These guys were everything I hoped for. The cake had a very subtle strawberry taste thanks to the gentle folding but the buttercream – oh, the buttercream. It was exploding with strawberry flavor. And the pink? Totally natural, no food colors at all! That is why I love working with strawberries.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
For the cupcakes:
  • 2 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup chopped strawberries
For the frosting:
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
To make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 cupcake pans.
  2. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl.
  3. In bowl of mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in berries.
  4. Fill cupcake pans 3/4 way. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting:
  1. Use a mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar a little at a time until you reach a slightly stiffer consistency then you wanted. Blend the strawberries into the mixture. The strawberry juices should thin out your buttercream a little bit, add more powdered sugar if needed.

How good does that look? Yes, it’s garlic bread that was baked on top of some tomato-y pasta so that all the tomato goodness go on the bottom of the bread. The top got crispy under the broiler and each bite was pure amazingness.

Did I mention it has sausage in it? It does. And anything with sausage is automatically a winner.

The recipe comes from my friend Pam. This is a recipe her mom made often and she used torn bread as the topping that she sprayed with a butter spray, so keep that in mind if you don’t have a baguette on hand. I was very lucky to have just pulled some poolish baguettes (coming up on my BBA roster) out of the oven.

I think the idea of bread on top of a casserole is pure genius. Why have I never seen this before? I don’t really like breadcrumbs on top of dishes because try as I might, I always end up with some soggy ones. Bread though? Crispy and perfect.

The whole dish was great. The sauce was very light and I have to say, making a sauce that includes sausage feel light is quite a feat.

If you make one thing from my blog, make it this. You won’t regret it.

Sausage Pasta Casserole
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup mozzarella shredded
  • small baguette
  • 3 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon parsley minced
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions until a dente.
  3. In a large pan, cook sausage, onion, and garlic until sausage is cooked through. Pour in tomato sauce and add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in mozzarella until melted.
  4. When pasta is cooked, drain and add to tomato sauce. Stir too combine. Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish (lightly sprayed with oil).
  5. Slice baguette into fairly thin pieces. Combine butter, garlic, and parsley. Spread a decent amount of butter on each baguette piece and arrange on top of pasta.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and turn on broiler. Broil for only a couple minutes until your bread is golden and crispy. Enjoy!

One  year ago: Butternut Squash Bars