My husband just finished his second year of law school. On the day of his last exam, I walked into my office after my lunch-break and saw a dozen tulips sitting on my desk. Next to them was a note from him, thanking me for everything I’ve done during this past year.
As coworkers walked by, they’d ask “Oh, is it your anniversary?” ”Is it your birthday?”
“No,” I’d say matter-of-factly, “my husband just finished finals.”
And then I’d get a puzzled look.
You see, my husband and I have been married for 4 (almost 5!) years. During that time, he went back graduate school, then I went to graduate school, and now he’s back in school (we have big dreams and try to take advantage of opportunties!). We’ve moved several times, started new jobs, and continually switched roles of who is the full-time student and who is the full-time worker/makes-sure-the-house-is-running-properly-person.
We work as a team. When one of us earns a diploma, a promotion, a “thank-you-for-doing-all-the-laundry” it’s only because we have the support of the other person.
So, really, those flowers were for me getting through the second year of law school. And I earned them.
But, of course, I also had a surprise up-my-sleeve for my husband who has worked tirelessly to get this far.
If there’s one thing I know my husband always wants to eat more than a fancy meal out or ordering his favorite take-out, it’s pretzel-anything. For birthdays, he requests Pumpkin Beer Pretzels Bites. For date-night meals, he requests burgers on Pretzel Rolls. When we’re having friends over, he reminds me what a hit Pretzel Bites dipped in mustard are.
So, in addition to a gift card for a much-needed massage, I also surprised him with a batch of Monterey Jack Pretzels.
I based the dough recipe off this one from Two Peas and Their Pod but added the Monterey Jack Cheese because I knew the spicy cheese would send them over-the-top for my husband. These were surprisingly easy to make. I made the dough in about 5 minutes, checked a few things off my to-do list while it rested, then came back an hour later to shape and bake them.
I’m pretty sure my husband would consider taking another 7-hour exam (!) just to come home to another batch of these.
Monterey Jack Soft Pretzels
Dough recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Keywords: bake appetizer bread dessert snack vegetarian cheese Super Bowl birthday
Ingredients (8 pretzles)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tbs. light brown sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
- 3 oz. unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 3 quarts water
- 2/3 cups baking soda
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbs. cold water
- Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
- 1/3 to 2/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (I used about 1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese to top on half of the pretzels. If you’d like to add it to all of them, I would double the amount of cheese to about 2/3 cup.)
- Mustard, for serving (optional)
1. Combine water, sugar, yeast and butter in bowl of stand mixer and let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Add the salt, whole wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour. Mix on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and continue for about 3-4 minutes, until dough begins to pull away from sides of the bowl. If dough appears, wet, add additional all-purpose flour 1 tbs. at a time.
3. Coat large bowl with olive oil. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat evenly with oil. Cover and place in warm place for 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.
4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place water in large pot and bring to a boil.
5. Place dough on lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal pieces (I cut it in triangles, like a pizza).
6. Roll each piece into a long rope, about 14 inches long.
7. To shape into pretzel: shape rope like a “U” and cross left side over the right…
…then flip-over so they cross again.
Pinch ends securely into bottom of “U.”
8. Slowly add baking sod to the water. Gently place 2 pretzels in the water and boil for 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon and place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Brush top with egg wash then sprinkle with coarse sea salt and shredded cheese. Repeat with remaining pretzels. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.
9. Serve with mustard (optional) and enjoy!
Other than warm pretzels, one of my husband’s favorite snacks is applesauce. So when Musselman’s offered to send me some of their products to try, I knew it would be the perfect snack to have in our house during his finals week! I was sent Musselman’s Cinnamon, Original and Natural Unsweetened Applesauce.
In addition to several types of applesauce, they also have apple butter, apple juice and other products available! My favorite flavor was the Cinnamon; it was just slightly sweet and made for a light snack during the day. I was planning to bake with them, but before I knew it, my husband had finished off the last container; he is definitely a fan!
The great part is that you can try them too! Musselman’s is giving away one package including: Musselman’s Cinnamon Apple Sauce single-serve cups; Musselman’s Natural Apple Sauce multi-serve jar; Musselman’s Apple Sauce single-serve cups; and special recipe cards! To enter, do any/all of the following by May 24 and tell me in the comments (winner must have a U.S. address):
1. Visit their website and tell me something you learned and/or would like to try!
2. Like Musselman’s on Facebook
3. Tweet about this giveaway! (example: I just entered to win @Musselmansapple applesauce @SimplyLifeBlog http://www.simplylifeblog.com/?p=5123 )
~How do you work as a team (with work, roommates, significant others, etc.)?