A Valentine's Shopping List Sweepstakes

A Valentine's Shopping List Sweepstakes

Enter to win all 5 products on my Valentine’s Shopping List. Something to tantalize all five senses (candy smells good too, right?!)

Game Day (Any Day) Pretzel Rolls

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A batch of delicious, fluffy, salty topped, pretzel rolls recently made their way into the studio kitchen/break room.

If there are pillows in heaven, they’re made from pretzel rolls… well, maybe not pillows, the tops are rather firm, perhaps stadium cushions then? Yes, stadium cushions in heaven are definitely made of pretzel rolls. lol.

So add these pretzel rolls to your offensive line-up for January play-off games and well beyond. They’ll go perfectly with any soup, chili, or stew, next to a leafy green salad, and paired with innumerable main dishes.

Don’t let the three stages of directions for the rolls daunt your enthusiasm, it’s a relatively easy process, but a written explanation can seem a bit overly-involved. It’s not.

Have fun and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour

  • 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) fact-acting yeast

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 tablespoons baking soda

  • coarse sea salt

Directions:

1st Stage:

  1. Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the warm water and melted, cooled, butter. Add to the flour mixture and mix with the dough hooks until well combined. If dough is too sticky, add more flour. Transfer the dough to a work surface kneading and punching-down until a smooth and elastic ball of dough.

  3. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place, or 100°F (35°C) warm oven, for 60 minutes until doubled in size.

  4. When the dough has doubled, punch it down, return to work surface, and knead for about 30 seconds.

  5. Divide dough into 10 equal (roughly 3-ounce) portions. Dust your hands with flour, roll dough for about 10 seconds until round and firm. This process creates surface tension and prevents the buns from becoming flat. Continue with the remaining dough, then cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until puffy.

  6. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2nd Stage:

  1. In a large wide pot, bring 4¼ cups of water and baking soda to a boil. (Careful, it will foam up!) With a slotted spoon or ladle, slip two rolls into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, turn them over, and cook for another 30 seconds. Make sure they are not sticking to the bottom!

  2. Transfer the rolls to the lined baking sheets, score the tops, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

  3. Repeat for all rolls, then place them onto baking sheets.

3rd Stage:

  1. Bake, one sheet at a time, for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

  2. Eat warm with butter, or store in a sealed bag or container for up to one week.

January Book Club | Still in the Game

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www.StillintheGameBook.com

I have more than a few football lovers in the family. In fact, my 10 year old grandson, Elijah, just returned from the Youth Football Championships in Canton, Ohio (Home of the Football Hall of Fame) where his team, The Raptors, were fortunate enough to play.

The game has so many fabulous metaphors for life that many of us use even if we’ve never donned a set of shoulder pads or smeared grease paint under our eyes. Such is NOT the case for the man, or his story I’m about to recommend.

For January, which happens to be the month of football playoffs, I’ve chosen an inspiring read, Still in the Game, by former NFL Defensive End, and now motivational speaker and author, Devon Still. It’s on bookshelves Tuesday, January 8th.

Still was brought to his knees by his daughter, Leah’s, cancer diagnosis, but that’s where he was used to finding God. 

His faith, and the lessons that life and the game of football had taught him prepared him to support her in “beating up cancer” and showing up for life!

He wants everyone to, “Be proud of your scars. They’re signs that you survived whatever tried to break you.”

Still has many such scars, the emotional ones that come from growing up in the inner city and being raised in a broken home, to the physical ones from the many sports injuries he’s had to overcome, and those to his career as a result.

He wants you to know that our challenges reveal our true purpose, and no set-back is too great to prevent not only a comeback, but it may be the thing that sets us on a path to a life better lived than ever before.

Millions of people around the world have been inspired by Devon’s tireless devotion to his daughter’s victory over cancer and his undaunted optimism. I’m inspired. I want you to be as well.

Learn more at StillintheGameBook.com

Pick up your copy HERE

Pasta with Gorgonzola Cheese and Roasted Cauliflower

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My nephew, Dalton (sister’s son), and niece, Laurel, (brother’s daughter), got together on Christmas eve and cooked up this “boujee” (their description!) version of my favorite dish - mac’n cheese.

Tender roasted cauliflower florets, Gorgonzola cheese, and the organic pasta they used, sets this apart from my typical elbow macaroni and cheddar dish, and make it special enough to serve at any dinner party of distinction. It’s versatile enough to use as a vegetarian main, or a side. (Perhaps to a halibut filet?)

Dalton and Laurel, a very Cousin Christmas!

Dalton and Laurel, a very Cousin Christmas!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (less than an inch)

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ¾ teaspoon

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large leeks, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 8 ounces pasta like farfalle, bowtie, or fusilli

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

  • 6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

  • chives for serving

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

  2. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, leeks, and garlic with olive oil, salt and 3-4 twists of freshly ground black pepper. Spread in a single layer onto a baking sheet or roulade pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes until cauliflower is tender and all veggies are caramelized.

  3. Cook pasta in large stock pot of salted boiling water - remove from heat just BEFORE it is al dente. Remove about 1 cup of the water - set aside, then drain the pot.

  4. Return the pasta to the pot, add the butter, Gorgonzola, a few more twists of the black pepper and 1/2 cup pasta water. Stir thoroughly until cheese is melted and evenly distributed.

  5. Add the roasted florets. leeks, and garlic to the pasta, then season with additional salt and pepper (if desired). If it is too dry, add more of the reserved pasta water.

  6. Dish into shallow serving bowls and garnish with chopped chives. Serve it up warm and delicious!

After carefully taste-testing and much discussion, our two burgeoning chefs decided it could be made even a little more extra by adding crab or lobster to the mix. I have to agree.