When Cory and I left Utah two years ago with our kids, pets and the few possessions we could put into our 30 foot travel trailer, I can only imagine the thoughts that went on in our families and neighbors minds.
It reminds me of a scene in Beauty and the Beast when the towns people are describing Belle's father, "oh, you know, crazy old Maurice". Only there were a few more of us than one Maurice and we were not crazy.
What were we? We were unemployed, ready for an adventure and change but most of all I was longing for some time with my kids. Our lives had become busy. We had church activities on the weekend and through out the week, we had civic responsibilities, sports, dance, school, work…sounds familiar? We had a life. A very busy life.
We made a choice to let life take us where ever the wind blew. Cory found work teaching on line and then, through some friends, he found work that allowed us to work and travel for one year before we settled down again.
|Poppies down by the Naval Academy, right before you go over the bridge.|
Why one year? Kids. We do a lot for our kids. They had fulfilled the so called "mid-life crisis" that their parents were going through and we had promised them we would only stop our lives for one year
Our lives did not stop.
We laughed late at night around camp fires while listening to the wild life creep and creak behind us and the stars shown ever so brightly above us. We talked into the wee hours of the night all crammed on our rv size queen bed. We ate meals together on red and white checkered table clothes in the most wooded, green and serene state parks in 12 states. We discovered each others interest through visiting museums, historical sites, movies, malls, parks, university's, city centers, etc…
What we stopped was not our lives but the noise and chaos that we sometimes cannot escape. I for one had a hard time saying no, I was booked beyond belief. My year off taught me to value my time. It allowed me to work and hone on the one thing I enjoyed filling my time with, and that was my family.
We came to this area on a contract with IRS and my husband ended up working for a local company.
To say that Annapolis is our home almost causes me to tear up. I had no idea that a place could so easily root itself into my heart.
|A pair of windows on a home downtown.|
While on the West coast I yearned for the opportunity to live on the East coast. I was drawn to this area. Even before we decided on which neighborhood, school district or county, when the map was open my finger automatically fell on Annapolis. We stayed for two months in our trailer looking for the perfect fit for our family.
I have a daughter at AACC, a son at Broadneck and a soon to be kindergartner. We love our home.
Annapolis, MD is an amazing place that wraps it's gentle swaying sails around your heart and takes you back in time. When down at the city docks, I often will close my eyes, listen to the waves and feel the sea air on my face.
Happiness. Joy. Home.
|A boat that is always docked in the harbor. I love this boat.|
While we were on our mini adventure, I was not able to bake very many things. Our oven was not the greatest. I missed cooking bread, pretzels, brownies, cakes and all sorts of doughy yumminess.
I am pretty sure I have made up for it while living here this last year and a half.
I learned to make pretzels, and then I discovered that I could coat them with almond gooeyiness and take a simple pretzel recipe and add a gourmet touch, giving my family the most mouth watering experience; all with one pretzel.
You can also find a step by step tutorial HERE of how I had my daughter help me make the plain pretzels a few months ago. They are really easy for your kids to make.
Recipe: Almond Pretzels and Almond Sauce
makes 12 pretzels
Prep time: 10 minutes
Dough to rest: 30 minutes
Bake: 8-10 minutes
2 cups of warm water
1 Tablespoon of yeast
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
5 cups of flour
1 cup of warm water (for the water bath before baking)
1/4 of baking soda
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoon of water
1 tablespoon of melted butter
1/4 cup of ground almonds or almond meal
a few drops of almond flavoring
chopped nuts for topping
To make the dough:
Add yeast and sugar to warm water. Let rise about 4 minutes.
In Kitchenaid, add flour and salt. When yeast has activated, add to the flour.
Mix until combined and then knead for 6 minutes. Turn your oven to 500 degrees.
Let dough rise for 30 minutes. When a few minutes are left on the rise time, prepare your warm water and baking soda mixture.
Have two cookie sheets ready to go. Dump your dough onto your table and cut into 12 sections. I usually cut the dough in half, then those halves are split in half again. From the four quarters on the table you should be able to get three smaller sections which will total 12 small mounds of dough.
Spray your table with Pam and start rolling your dough into long "snakes, about 20 inches. Dip each strand in the warm water/baking soda mixture and then shape your pretzel on the cookie sheet.
Have your oven trays so that one is in the middle and one below that. Add your sheets together. Let them cook for 4 minutes and then switch the trays. If you want your pretzels to be darker then just add an extra minute or two. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
You can serve your pretzels two ways: Add butter and Kosher salt or add the almond glaze and serve with the sauce. Both ways are amazing! To add butter, when you transfer them to the cookie sheet coat each pretzel with melted butter and immediately sprinkle with salt.
To make the almond glaze and sauce:
Add all of the ingredients above into a small pan. Warm the sauce on the stove until the brown sugar is melted and the mixture is well combined. At the end of the cooking time for the pretzels, remove the trays. Using a pastry brush, brush the pretzels with the almond glaze. Return to the oven and cook for 3 minutes. The glaze should be bubbly. Remove and transfer to a rack.
I love serving these pretzels with an extra side of glaze, so don't fret if you have some left over. If you need more just follow the directions and make a second batch.
NOTE: You can add chopped almonds also, but be careful because the will burn easily if the oven shelf is too close to the heat.