"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks
Friday, March 11, 2011
The simplest of things.......
We made pretzels. They are wonderful and smell just like the ones you can get in New York City except BETTER!!!! There is nothing more wonderful than discovering you can make those coveted treats at home and they truly do taste just as wonderful. *sigh* The simple pleasures......
*********The following is my article that was published in Little Acorn Learning's March Afterschool Enrichment E-book. If you haven't already checked out all the amazing work Eileen is doing.......GO! Check out her amazing website and all the amazing gifts she has to offer!
The photos are from our pretzel making today! It truly is such a simple pleasure and a ton of fun!!! ***********
Pretzels have a surprising history within the celebrations of Lent, dating as far back as the fourth century. During the time of the Roman Empire, those who were devout Christians followed a strict fast during Lent. Their diets for that 40 day period would consist of no more than breads, fruit, vegetables, and grains. Simple breads, made of only flour and water, were made and folded in the way that honored their traditional way of sitting in prayer, not with folded hands, but with folded arms across their chests. These breads were called "little arms" or bracellae. It is from this Latin word where the word 'pretzel' came from.
A simple way to make these pretzels part of your Lenten celebrations is to begin making them on Ash Wednesday as a family. Talk about the rich history these little breads have and how they can represent something so meaningful. Like a candy cane is to Christmas, let pretzels be to Lent. Serve these breads with each evening meal though out the Lenten season until Easter. Reserving this tradition solely for Lent will make these a time honored tradition in your home.
Recipe for Lenten Pretzels::
Combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon of sweetener, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add to this one packet of dry active yeast. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes until it has proofed (becomes foamy). Add 4 1/2 cups of flour, one cup at a time, along with 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Once the dough has come together, pour it out on to a clean surface and knead until springy (about 5 minutes). Return the kneaded dough into a large, oiled bowl and let rise for one hour.
Once the dough has doubled, pour out onto a cutting board and cut into 8 equal portions. *At this time, prepare a large pot with 10 cups of water and 2/3 cup of baking soda and have it heating to a rolling boil.* Roll each portion into a long rope (about 18-24 inches).
Hold each end of the rope and form it into a "U" shape. Still holding the ends, twist the ends around each other 2-3 times and then meet them together at the bottom of the "U". Pinch the dough together. Complete the rest of the ropes. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
Now that the ropes are 'tied' and your water is boiling, place one pretzel at a time in the water bath. Let it sit in the boiling water for about 30-45 seconds. Remove from the water with a slotted spatula and return to cookie sheet. Once they have all been boiled, brush them with a solution of 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Sprinkle them with kosher salt and bake until they are golden brown (about 10-12 minutes).