Monday, February 5, 2007

the first of many

Yesterday we hosted our first ever Superbowl party. When my husband first suggested inviting people over, I thought, “Oh, let’s not.” I’m really not into sports. At all. And then I had a realization: I am the mother of three boys. These boys will, hopefully, grow up into guys. And most guys are into sports, at least a little bit. (My husband, thankfully, falls on the “little bit” side.) Suddenly, it felt like my civic duty as a Mom of boys to host a Superbowl party. So we did. Besides, with the Bears playing, I think it was against the law in chicagoland to not watch the big game. So, we invited our family and a few friends over, bought a bunch of junk food, and huddled around our suddenly-too-small TV.

The noisy boys’ best buddies also happen to be five-year old twins, so we included their family in the festivities. All four boys lined up on the floor with their chips and dip and root beer, cheering and yelling whenever their dad or uncle did. They lasted longer than I thought they would before retreating to the family room to play with their airplanes and tinker toys, joining us every now and then when things got rowdy.

I tried to watch the game, but my mind kept wandering. I found myself thinking, “Wouldn’t this be a great day to go into Chicago and visit the Art Institute?”

At least there’s food at a Superbowl party. Here's a favorite recipe—super yummy and fun to make with the noisy boys!

Hot Buttered Pretzels

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons regular instant yeast
1 cup warm water

1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse, kosher or pretzel salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Bread Machine Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Dough or Manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its two kneading cycles, then cancel the machine, shape the dough into a ball, coating it with flour. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag, close the bag loosely, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Manual/Mixer Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat till well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, till it's soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with vegetable oil spray, or lining them with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces. (I did 16, for smaller pretzels.) Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup boiling water and the baking soda, and place it in a shallow bowl. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved; if it isn't, it'll make your pretzels splotchy.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope, and twist each rope into a pretzel. Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they're golden brown.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter.


clc said...

very impressed by the pretzels. haven't tried those before. but you've inspired me.

Craver VII said...

That's great of you to be thinking ahead for the boys like that.

I watched the game with friends. It was a gathering of four homeschool families. We made our own icecream. Ahem... No one wore Colts jerseys--no one. A good time was had by all.

Llama Momma said...

clc - Don't let the yeast scare you. The pretzels sound more complicated than they are. Your boys would have fun making them. Just like making playdough snakes, except you get the eat the finished result!

Craver - Glad you've got a sense of humor. Really, really glad...

Anonymous said...

I like sports and kind of miss watching them. My hub isn't too much into sports unless it's a BIG game. Watching the boys play sports, HOLY COW the competitor in me comes out! It is kind of scary! The boys don't mind all my screaming and cheering at their games, so I guess I am safe! Once your boys start playing you will LOVE it! REALLY!

Martin Stickland said...

MMMMmmmm yummy, you have made me hungry!!

23 degrees said...

Yum, pretzels! What game was on?