Monterey Jack Soft Pretzels and Applesauce GIVEAWAY!

by simplylife on May 19, 2012

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

by Simply Life

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!

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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 )

~How do you work as a team (with work, roommates, significant others, etc.)?

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  • Bakebikeblog

    Congrats to your hubby – and these look like a delicious way to celebrate!

  • Hillary

    Not only do these look delicious, but I love the story behind them. My boyfriend and I are both in graduate school (and I’m working full-time), and we try to treat ourselves and each other to something special after each big milestone (the end of prelim exams, the end of the school year, etc.) Like you said, we rely on each other to get through everything, so the accomplishments almost feel shared by the end of it!

    • Simply Life

      Love this! What are you both studying!

  • Amy B @ Second City Randomness

    Oh my gosh, those look amazing! A crisp outside and a soft center… and maybe perfect for sandwiches? Love…

    • Simply Life

      Oh I think they would be AMAZING as sandwiches!!!

  • Baking Serendipity

    The flowers and pretzels and your marriage attitude in general makes me smile 🙂 Congrats to your husband…and to you! I lived at home between graduation and when I got married to save money and help my husband pay down some of the student loans he took out for helicopter training. Now, he’s about to support me when we move home…he’s the one with a stable job lined up already. I should totally make these pretzels as a thank you!

    • Simply Life

      Love this and the relationship you share!

  • actorsdiet

    great recipe! i’d love to try any of their flavors – i love applesauce!

  • Brittany

    Ohh my gosh these pretzels..the look so doughy good.

  • manda

    Mussleman’s has some great recipes!

    Great giveaway!

  • manda

    I tweeted!

  • angela.simon11

    Those pretzels look sinfully good. I am pinning them now. I will give him husband – who is in grad school – a hint that I shall now be expecting flowers.

  • Decocinasytacones

    Congratulations to your husband!….and congratulations to you for supporting the love of your life so well.

  • Choc Chip Uru

    Hi my friend, I have nominated you for two well deserved awards 😀
    Check out this link to see and claim them:

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Simply Life

      Thank You!!!

  • Yummychunklet

    As someone who completed law school, I have nothing but admiration for spouses and significant others who stick with it as well. I went through several boyfriends myself! Ha!

  • Kari

    Aww, this post made me feel gooey 😉 Congratulations to the both of you for this second year of study behind you! These soft pretzels look like a perfect way to celebrate!

  • bergamot

    The pretzels looks scrumptious. Like the fact that they are whole wheat too.

  • beti

    I can only say THANK YOU for sharing this recipe!

  • Holly Marie

    I liked them on facebook!

  • Holly Marie

    I loved their long list of recipes! I just made my six month old a large batch of homemade applesauce : ) Great to see the possibilities! Thanks for sharing!

  • Mom

    Oh my gosh!!!!! Grandma and I were reading this post together and ooohing at all of the step-by-step pictures!! She wanted to know as did I how to make these from start to finish! They look amazing.

    I am so proud and inspired at your story; your lives together. If a couple could get a degree on marriage, you would have the highest ! I l o v e the flowers sent too of course!!!!!

    How do I bookmark these?

  • DeliciousDish

    Huge congrats to your husband! You guys seem like such a good team! These pretzels sound amazing, and I know my fiancé would love them so I’ll have to make them for him one of these days.

  • Ameena

    You are an amazing wife. I am taking notes over here!

  • Jolene (

    Congratulations to your husband! You guys seem like the sweetest couple 🙂

  • Karen (Back Road Journal)

    First congratulations to both of you for having such a wonderful and understanding marriage. I’m sure you both will go far in life with your great attitude. I love your very informative recipe. I’m sure the pretzels would be something my husband would love as well.

    • Simply Life

      Thanks for the kind words! 🙂

  • Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    The cinnamon apple sauce sounds incredible! yum!
    I love you and your husband’s relationship. It sounds great. I love that he got you flowers. So darling.

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story

    Congrats to YOU on your husband finishing this year. As someone who is married and working on my PhD, I really appreciate how much our spouses flex to help our dreams come true. Kudos to you both!

  • Colleen

    You two are so sweet and thoughtful to one another – I love it!!!! Congrats to the hubby for being done with year #2 🙂

  • Cellabella

    I’d like to try out their Acorn Baked Squash recipe!

  • Julie

    like Musselmans on fb Julie A Scott ALaws thanks

  • Beth Michelle

    I know just how it is being married to a student! My husband is just about to finish up his second year of medical school and I think I deserve flowers too 🙂 And, perhaps he deserves these amazing looking pretzels!! YUM. I love how you added the monterey jack cheese to them. They must be delicious. Im sure he was very very happy!

    • Simply Life

      Wow, I’d love to hear more about what it’s been like for both of you! You both deserve flowers and pretzels! 🙂

  • amy beth marantino
  • amy beth marantino

    the Acorn Baked Squash recipe looks really good

  • Renata

    I wold love to try their all-natural no sugar added variety!

  • Renata

    I like them on FB

  • Renata

    Tweeted your link too – thank you! 🙂

  • Georgiana

    Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices so I would love to try their version of Cinnamon Applesauce!

  • Georgiana

    Facebook fan too!

  • Nikki @ Life After Swimming

    Holy cow those pretzels look amazing!

  • Raymond

    The natural version that is unsweetened would be a healthy snack!

  • Ray

    Facebook fan of theirs too.

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