Kids in the Sink

Healthy No-Bake Energy Bites and a Comeback


Hey Guys! It’s been a minute or two (years) since we last talked! How are you all!? So much has changed since the last post. Our family has been through difficult losses, yet we have also seen numerous blessings. Since this blog died out, it has always been something I have thought about in the back of my mind. I missed the cooking, baking, recipe trying and the taking 10,000 pictures to get 3 that I deemed usable.

After the dream team, i.e. Melissa and Heather, moved away from one another, continuing the blog was a challenge. Eventually, we just stopped posting altogether. But after some cajoling from my husband, I decided to give it another try. And a simple start needs a simple recipe. Enter Healthy No-Bake Energy Bites. These little bites are packed with tons of flavor, full of good stuff that keeps you going, and the best part is they are loved by kids and adults alike! These babies are naturally sweetened with honey, no artificial sweeteners here, and the oats, peanut butter, and other goodies leave you feeling full with just a small bite. I love to pack these in lunchboxes to make sure my boy can get through the school day (Yes, he is in school. Rising Kindergarteners, where you at!?) or for an in-between-meals snack. They are easy, quick, and delicious!


P.S. If there are any of you out there that still read this ol’ blog, leave me some comment love and let me know I’m not alone in this great big world wide internet! I would love to hear back from you guys and see if you are still interested in Kids in the Sink!!!



Healthy No-Bake Energy Bites


1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup almonds, chopped*

2 tbsp chia seeds*

1/8 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp chocolate chips


In a large bowl, stir together oats, almonds, flaxseed, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt.

Melt peanut butter and allow it to cool slightly (You can do this in the microwave, but for those cavemen like myself who don’t own one, the stove top works just fine!), then stir in the honey and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients over the oat mixture and mix well with a spoon. When the mixture starts to stick together, fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, (Or your hands) scoop out and roll into golf-ball sized balls. These will keep sealed at room temperature, but they are best right out of the fridge!

*Note: I only had pecans at the time, so that’s what I used. Use whatever nuts you have on hand!

I didn’t actually have chia seeds when I made these, but I usually make them with them. They are full of fiber, protein,      and omegas! A little goes a long way and really packs a punch as far as nutrition is concerned, so I totally recommend investing in them!

Source: One of my ALL time favorite blogs, How Sweet Eats


Brussel Sprouts Grilled Cheese


I don’t like brussels sprouts.  Wrong.  I used to not like brussels sprouts.  These days, it is really very seriously competing for first place for my favorite vegetable.  It all started with this brussels sprout crostini.  My world was forever changed.  This grilled cheese, though, has even topped that amazing appetizer.

I got it.  You’re still stuck on the fact that we put brussels sprouts in a grilled cheese.  You’re still stuck on how everyone uses brussels sprouts as the example of the most detestable vegetable you could ever be asked to try.  The vegetable that kids shudder at.  Wrong.  All wrong.  The likelihood that you, too, would enjoy brussels sprouts in a chopped and sauteed fashion is pretty high.  In fact, I convinced my mom to try this sandwich even though she had strong opinions about them originally.  Strong, negative opinions, that is.  One bite and she was a convert.  This is the woman that often refuses to try foods that she previously disliked, because she’s just that sure that she won’t like it now.  I love my mom.  My hard-headed mom.  And I made her love a new vegetable!  I’m done trying to convince you.  I’m moving on. Jump on board or get off the train.  What does that even mean in a food blog context?


Crusty bread, salty butter, melted cheese, and tangy balsamic vinegar.  This might be what my heaven looks like.  Seriously. I want to eat it every day. I bought two pounds of brussels sprouts yesterday and I have three loaves of English Muffin Bread (I know, yet another shameless plug for this bread of ours but it is the best crusty bread for toasted sandwiches!) in the freezer and I’m ready to hunker down and eat me some veggie-stuffed grilled cheese.  Oh, and just let me add this, the sauteed brussels sprouts with a few shakes of balsamic vinegar are great on their own.  So, if I were you, and I have definitely been you, I would make extra and eat and/or serve them as a side dish because they reheat fantastically!  I dare you to not fall in love with this vegetable.



Brussel Sprouts Grilled Cheese


1/2 pound brussels sprouts, stems removed and chopped or shredded
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
balsamic vinegar to taste
12 ounces of havarti cheese, shredded or sliced (I’ve also used provolone and tuscano with great results)
8 slices crusty bread bread
softened butter for spreading


  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil.  Saute minced garlic for about 30 seconds and then add in brussels sprouts.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until brussels sprouts are wilting and turning golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Return the pan to the burner over medium low heat.  Butter each slice of bread on one side and place butter-side down in the pan.  Top with cheese, brussels sprouts, balsamic vinegar, and more cheese.  Top with another slice of buttered side up bread.
  3. Cook each side until golden brown and serve hot.  And be ready for your opinions of brussels sprouts to be totally changed forever.  And ever.  Amen.

Source: How Sweet Eats

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Cheesy Quinoa Bites

quinoabites1Quinoa.  How do you say that again?  QUIN-OH-AH.  Haha, no, just kidding.  It’s KEEN-Wah.  It’s a super healthy grain that is way better for you than rice or other starches and so… we’re trying to like it.  Well, Heather is trying to like it.  I, Melissa, actually really enjoy it in most of it’s forms.  We liked it raw in these muffins and also cooked in a yummy summery salad.  It’s pretty surprising that although we cook with quinoa fairly often, we’ve only blogged it twice.  Until now.

To continue with our appetizers for the month of December, we’re coming at you with a healthy little snack.  This is one that’s been a staple in the house for about a year now.  This is the quinoa dish that finally brought Heather around to enjoying it!  She likes the quinoa cooked in some sort of broth, that’s a must for her.  I don’t necessarily cook it in broth every time, but I prefer it that way too.  It’s just not a deal breaker for me.  But if you don’t much like quinoa, you should probably cook it in some sort of broth so it has lots of extra flavor.


Then there’s the veggies.  And the cheese.  Use what you have.  The recipe that follows uses cheddar cheese with spinach and carrots but I’ve also successfully made these using roasted broccoli and parmesan and even sweet potatoes and cheddar.  Yum.  A tiny bit of flour and two eggs bring this little snack together to form a pretty well-balanced dish.  In fact, my little guy eats these for lunch at least once a week.  Because that’s right, folks, they freeze well too! I tray freeze them for him to have on days where lunch is crazy and unplanned.  I can just pull out a healthy meal for him and it’s thawed in less than an hour, or in 30 seconds in the microwave.  Can you bring these to a party with your friends?  I think yes. People will be pleasantly surprised that there are actual veggies in it rather than just cheese and bread.  Not that there’s anything wrong with cheese and bread.  At all.



Cheesy Quinoa Bites

Makes 12 large bites in a muffin tin or 24 mini bites in a mini muffin tin


2 cups cooked quinoa
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Spoon the mixture evenly into the greased muffin tin and with the back of the spoon, pat each cup down so that it’s well packed.
  4. Bake mini bites for 15-20 minutes or large bites for 20-25 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes and then remove from tins and serve hot.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Curvy Carrot

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Pizza Muffins

pizzamuffins1Heather – Is there an acceptable way to make cheesy pull apart bread a main course?

Melissa – Lol, I don’t think so.  I made it with pasta, I think. Is there any way to make hot sauce a beverage?

Heather – Lol, yes I think so.

Melissa – I want that.

Oh friends, this is our daily life together via texts.  We like each other.  What, you might be wondering, does cheesy pull apart bread and hot sauce have to do with today’s post? Well, that would be big fat nothing.  We’re just random.  You can get behind that, right?  It appears that you already have gotten behind it, so just embrace it.  Love us for who we are.


Alright.  To the food.  This appetizer we’re bringing you today is one that all the kids are going to love you for.  Bring this to your party or family gathering and the kids, as well as adults, will be all about them.  Pizza muffins.  Although, I don’t really care for that name because the idea of pizza in a muffin sounds gross to me.  So what we’ll call these is pizza’s in a muffin tin, since that’s what they’re prepared in.  They’re like two-bite pizzas, perfect for easy transport, and they’re even delicious if you have to serve them at room temperature.


Just look at that melty, cheesy goodness.  You’re welcome, in advance.


Pizza Muffins (or Pizza Made in a Muffin Tin)

Makes about 16-20


1 lb pizza dough, room temperature
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup pizza sauce
10-15 pepperonis, cut into quarters
olive oil, for brushing crusts


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease a mini muffin tin.
  2. Roll out dough to a rectangle, approximately 18 x 12.  Using a knife, cut the rectangle into squares, about 3 x 3.
  3. Put each square of dough in the mini muffin tin, making sure that each corner of the dough square is sticking out of each muffin cup. Brush each crust with olive oil and bake for 8 minutes, until partially cooked.
  4. Once crusts are par- baked, put a teaspoon of sauce in each crust and top evenly with cheese and pepperoni (if desired).
  5. Bake for 5 more minutes and remove from oven once the cheese is melted and golden brown.
  6. Serve warm or room temperature.

Source: Weelicious

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White Cheese Dip


Have you ever dreamed about food? Like really dreamed about it.  For two nights in a row.  Where every time you woke up in the night, you had to figure out exactly how many hours until you could finally consume whatever food it is you’re dreaming of.  Well, that is how this dip happened to me.

Remember a few days ago when we told you we got together to enjoy copious amounts of food in the name of the blog?  Well, this dip is another fabulous creation that came out of that day.  But two nights before that, I had vivid dreams of drippy, cheesy goodness.  It was almost too much to handle.  I was excited to spend a day and a night with my best friend but I was maybe just as excited about the cheese.  Since the dreams started on Friday, I had kind of a long way to go until Sunday.  In fact, let me share with you how long I still had to go.


Heather came to town because she was attending a Christmas party with her family and asked me to watch the kids Saturday night.  Sure! No problem, right?  If you guys remember, for an entire year, Heather watched my kids for me while I was gone to work for 4 hours during the day.  She started when Kale was 4 months old and Ella was only ONE month old.  Crazy woman that she is, she dug it.  She was into the insane, screaming ridiculousness that four children, ages 2 and under bring to the table.  My. Best. Friend.  She’s good. I, on the other hand, am not that good.  I’m ok with mine, but add two more to the mix and I’m in over my head.  Don’t let me forget to mention, also, that the two youngest, Kale and Ella, are now both into scaling furniture, jumping off whatever they can find, and just basically getting into any kind of shenanigans they can find.  Oh, and then there are Pilot and Bailey (now almost 3 and 4, respectively).  You would think they were pretty self sufficient, right?  Wrong.  Big, fat wrong.  Pilot, is newly potty trained and Bailey is (and always has been) an overly emotional, often irrational little girl.  Put those two together, who have basically grown up as siblings, and you get one big screaming “MINE!” match, and maybe a certain little boy peeing in the backyard.


To say that I love these children, all of them, would be a drastic understatement.  I, though, am not cut out for the four of them alone.  Half way through the evening, I texted Heather to tell her I would be having a large glass of wine after the kids went to bed. Don’t judge, dudes.  Don’t judge.  You weren’t there.  So what kept me going?  What kept me from throwing myself off a bridge, you ask?  The thought of a big glass of wine giant bowl of cheese dip that I knew I would be able to consume the next day.  Yep, that was enough.  So maybe you have a big term paper due, or a giant work project deadline, or even a holiday party you’re dreading attending (what? It can’t just be me).  As a gift to yourself, make this dip and eat it.  And make sure you have someone to share it with because otherwise, that could be problematic.



White Cheese Dip


1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 (12 ounces) blocks cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
8 ounces provolone cheese, freshly shredded
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place sliced tomatoes on prepared sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together the cream cheese, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan cheese in a large bowl.  Stir in garlic, pesto, thyme and oregano and mix well to combine.  Stir in roasted tomatoes, gently.
  3. Pour mixture into a baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  4. Serve hot with crackers, tortilla chips, or toasted baguettes.

Source: How Sweet It Is

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Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Crostini


Oh friends.  Brussels sprouts are gross, huh?  I (Melissa) tried to like them.  I really, really did.  They were another thing I never ate growing up.  So then I grew up and I was a foodie.  And my foodie friend and fellow blogger, Heather, tried to tell me how good they were.  So a few times, we roasted them with some balsamic vinegar (which normally, I love) and it was only meh. I didn’t love it.  I hardly even liked it.  I wouldn’t make it again. And that’s saying a lot because roasted vegetables make my world right.  I just didn’t like them.

Then this past weekend happened.  Heather and I got together and we actually planned the month of blog posts.  Gasp. We were organized. It felt good.  And since we were together, like old times, we decided to make a bunch of appetizers all on one random Sunday afternoon, take pics, and eat entirely too much cheese.  It was a good day.  I decided to give brussels sprouts one more chance.  A recipe I had seen piqued my interest.  It involves bread, roasted garlic, and cheese.  That’s kinda hard to screw up, if you ask us.

We got to work right after church making these little babies and I was excited about it because the day before, I had roasted the garlic and couldn’t wait to dig into it!  Poor Heather was busy taking pictures and I was so seriously addicted after one little bite, that I couldn’t stop.  Heather is slaving away behind the camera and I’m all, “Oh my gosh!!!! I love brussels sprouts! I can’t stop.  Ohhhhh friend.  Eat this!”  It was probably quite a sight to see.  And she might have hated me for enjoying it before she could.  Although, I did try to pop one into her mouth while she was still shooting, but she couldn’t enjoy it or focus on it’s wonderful-ness.


Friends… don’t be a brussels sprouts hater.  Don’t remember those nasty, slimy(?), steamed little green balls your mom used to serve you when you were a kid.  Eat these, instead.  Be a lover of brussels sprouts. A brussels sprouts convert, if you will.  I’m serious. Take it from a former brussels sprouts hater!

Oh, and one more thing.  Just to let you guys know, this month on the blog we’ll be featuring a bunch of appetizer recipes.  Our Faith Friday’s will continue to be sweets but we figured since everyone else is doing mostly sweets this month, we’d switch it up, turn the blog world on it’s ear, and do savory appetizers. Because guys, you need something to take to those holiday parties.  So, stick around because it’s about to get sooooooo good.

-Heather and Melissa


Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Crostini


4 bulbs garlic
1 large baguette
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 pound brussels sprouts, sliced or shredded
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
shaved parmesan cheese for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cut off the top portion of the garlic bulb to reveal the cloves.  Rub away as much of the paper from the cloves as possible and drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil onto each bulb.  Let sit for 10 minutes, while oven preheats.  Wrap bulbs tightly in foil and place in a baking dish for about 45 minutes, or until garlic is roasted and golden brown.  Let cool completely and start working on the rest of the dish.
  2. Slice baguette into thin slices and bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, until crisp.
  3. While the bread is toasting and the garlic is cooling, bring the remaining olive oil to medium heat in a large skillet.  Add brussels sprouts, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and toss it all together to coat.  Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring and tossing frequently, until slightly browned and wilted.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in grated parmesan, until well combined.
  5. At this point, the garlic should be cool enough to handle. Unwrap foil packet and pinch out the bulbs into a bowl.  Mash roasted garlic with a fork until it resembles a paste.
  6. Spread a little bit of smashed garlic onto each toasted baguette slice and top with cooked brussels sprouts.  Top with freshly shaved parmesan slices and serve.

Source: How Sweet It Is


Spicy Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

This weekend we went to the pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins.  Then we carved a silly faced pumpkin. Silly because Bailey is kind of afraid of everything.  So Halloween around here is a fun, pumpkin carving, hay ride going, treat making silly time rather than the scary witches and black cats kind of time.  I really enjoyed carving the pumpkin into a silly face and the kids enjoyed painting their small ones that they picked out themselves.

I love fall and I love all of the things that come with it!  That includes a love of pumpkin seeds.  Last year, Heather and I experimented with a bunch of different kinds and our favorite, by far, was the spicy sweet combo.  So this year, without my best friend, I made them again.  And this time, gasp, I photographed it.  And now I’m blogging them and enjoying them again without her.  But I’m pretty sure she’s making them again this year, too.  So even though we’re not doing it in the same town, we are continuing our fall traditions together.  We hope you can enjoy them, too. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, with family and friends.  Happy fall, friends!


Spicy Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


2 cups pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Rinse and dry pumpkin seeds so they’re free of pumpkiny slimy goo.  Toss with olive oil and place on a baking sheet
  3. Sprinkle sugar, cayenne, and salt over seeds and toss again.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, tossing once more after the 10 minute mark.
  5. Remove from oven and wait for seeds to cool.  They’ll be sticky at first but will crisp up after they’re cool.

Source: Kids in the Sink original

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Grilled Pineapple Guacamole

Man, just when you think you’ve finally figured things out, the world turns around and says, “No!” This is what the grill does to us. We start out strong, successfully grilling things with our charcoal and our fire and the next time we try, we couldn’t even singe a hair if we tried. This grilling stuff is tricky business.

That is exactly how it went the first time we tried to grill pineapple. We had grilled salmon with great success and then when we grilled pizza, man we thought we were pros. Big time grillers over here. Watch out, grill masters. The Kids in the Sink are coming. So, how hard can it be to grill some fruit?

Very hard, it turns out. We got our pineapple and our glaze and we were ready and then…nothing. Nothing at all. We could not even get our pineapple warm. And those pretty charred lines? Forget it. We ended up having only moderately good-tasting, room temperature pineapple that night. And we lost a little confidence in our grilling abilities that night, too.

But we aren’t quitters. So, we cautiously moved forward and decided to brave the wild world of grilling fruit one more time with this Grilled Pineapple Guacamole. Melissa’s guacamole is a staple around here. We don’t usually stray from her recipe, because it changed my life as far as avocados are concerned, turning me from an avocado hater, into an avocado lover. So, we weren’t totally sure about trying a whole new guacamole recipe and throwing grilled fruit in it all at the same time. But we are happy to announce that it was a grilling success!

We actually managed to get char marks on our pineapple this time, bringing out such a juicy sweetness that went great with the heat from the jalapenos and the tartness of the lime. Summer grilling is coming to an end, so before you let it go, give fruit grilling a try with this Grilled Pineapple Guacamole. Savor the bright flavors one last time, then put them on the shelf for next year, and prepare for all things spiced/apple/pumpkin!


Grilled Pineapple Guacamole


2 slices of cored and peeled fresh pineapple
2 medium avocados
1/4 cup cilantro, torn
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced


  1. Heat grill to medium high and lightly oil grates.  Put pineapple slices directly on grill until there are char marks on one side.  Then flip and cook another couple of minutes until charred.  Set aside to cool. Once cooled, cut into bite sized pieces.
  2. Cut avocados in half and scoop out the flesh.  Mash avocado flesh with a fork or potato masher.  Combine mashed avocados with cilantro, lime juice, salt, and jalapeno.  Stir in pineapple pieces.
  3. Transfer to a container with an air tight lid and chill or serve immediately.  Serve with chips or on the side of a quesadilla.

Source: Annie’s Eats

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Soft Pretzel Bites with Caramel Dipping Sauce

Let me tell you guys something.

There is a reason that I am not a pretzel maker. One word. Patience.

I don’t have enough of it. Not for pretzels, at least. If I am going to make something that takes a year to make, it better sing and dance and make my mouth feel like an explosion of heaven just occurred inside.

Don’t get me wrong, these pretzels are good. And maybe, for the average person, they are just fine to make. Maybe, if I didn’t try to make them right smack in the middle of 4 kids just waking up from nap, it would have been a little easier. My timing. I gotta work on it.
But when a recipe calls for you to do something SLOWLY, I take that as a suggestion. And it turns out, that is not always a good idea.

Sometimes, you just really have to follow the rules. Or you have something on your hands that looks  a little like this.

Look, don’t let me dissuade you from making these pretzels, though. They actually aren’t half bad for you and let’s be honest, they aren’t REALLY all that hard to make. And when you add caramel dipping sauce to the whole mix, everything really starts to be worthwhile. But, in order to save you from the mess you see above, let me clue you in on a little something about these pretzels. NO SHORTCUTS! No shortcuts, people! When they tell you to add baking soda to boiling water SLOWLY, they mean slooooowly. Like, sprinkles at a time. No teaspoons, no tablespoons, no pours here and there. Sprinkles. Slow sprinkles. Because baking soda and boiling water like to bubble up and fizz and explode on contact. All over your kitchen. Unless you sit back, slow down, and take things slow.


Soft Pretzel Bites with Caramel Dipping Sauce

Makes about 60 bites, about 3 cups sauce


For the pretzels:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 package) active dry yeast
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda

For the egg wash:

1 large egg
1 tbsp cold water
Coarse sea salt, for garnish

For the caramel sauce:

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. For the pretzels: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside. Lightly coat a medium bowl with olive oil and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the water, brown sugar, yeast and melted butter. Stir with the dough hook to combine, then fit the attachment and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until slightly foamy.
  3. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour until just combined.
  4. Increase the mixer to medium-low and knead until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Roll the dough into a ball gently with your hands, and place into a pre-oiled bowl, and cover with a light towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
  6. Punch down the dough and turn onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.
  7. Roll each portion into a long rope, about 18-20 inches in length. I found that it was easier to actually hold the dough between my hands and roll back and forth, starting in the middle and working my way up. Turn the dough around and repeat, working your way up to the other end. This way, gravity helps do most of the work.
  8. Cut each rope into 1-inch portions and place each one on your greased baking sheet. Set aside.
  9. Meanwhile, in a LARGE saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the water up to a boil. Very CAREFULLY and SLOWLY add the baking soda. Remember, no shortcuts!
  10. In small batches, boil the pretzel bites for about 30 seconds or so. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and place them back on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  11. For the egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cold water. Lightly brush the boiled pretzel bites with the egg wash and lightly sprinkle with the coarse sea salt.
  12. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
  13. For the caramel sauce: In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
  14. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and milk, stirring to combine. Increase the heat to medium and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a boil.
  15. Remove from heat and whisk in the cinnamon and vanilla. Serve warm or cold, whichever way you like!

Source: pretzels from The Curvy Carrot, via Two Peas and Their Pod, caramel sauce from Tammy’s Recipes


Sri Racha Ranch Popcorn

So, here’s a fun fact. You can still eat sriracha after it has been expired for a year. And you can also eat a packet of ranch dressing, you know, the powdered kind, because ranch dressing is something that should be powdered, even after it’s been left open and lost in a cabinet for about a year. And you won’t die. Or at least we didn’t. Don’t sue us if you have different results. And don’t try this at home.

We don’t usually make a habit of consuming things that have been expired for any significant amount of time, or even keeping them around, really. And fear not, we did not and don’t (usually) feed expired things to our children. The very fact that those things were still acceptable to eat is a testament as to how truly un-real that they were. Sometimes, though, you just have to eat processed food and enjoy it. Everything in moderation, yes?

Popcorn is actually a pretty healthy snack to eat and you can really do so much with it. Around here, we like things spicy, and this popcorn was perfect. It’s a little bit spicy, a little bit buttery, and just only slightly ranch-y. We know, that’s not a word.  We liked that it was only slightly ranch-y because artificially flavored things aren’t really our deal but the powdered packet did bring something to the table here.  It wouldn’t have been the same without it but now we’re on the search for a homemade ranch “packet” type seasoning. Do you have one? Please share!

Anyways, this popcorn is a perfect snack to have anytime, but we bet it would be great to munch on while you’re doing all that backyard grilling this summer! It’s spicy but not too spicy.  Maybe not for little kids but definitely not too spicy for the grown ups at the barbeque.  Grill!  Drink lots of cold beverages because it’s a heat wave out there if you haven’t noticed.  When you walk outside your face melts off, that’s how you’ll know.  Not sure how you would have missed that but drink cold things, nonetheless! And in the words of Melissa, “Get lost in a vat of this”  popcorn and enjoy!

-Heather and Melissa

Sriracha Ranch Popcorn


8 cups popped popcorn
1 1/2 tsp powdered Ranch seasoning
2 tbsp Sriracha
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, toss the popcorn with the dried Ranch dressing until well-coated.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter and Sriracha.
  3. Lightly drizzle the popcorn with the Sriracha mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Source: The Curvy Carrot