I say in my last post that I will be consuming lots of vegetables and then I post Pretzel Shortbread Bars. LOL, welcome to my life. I am catching up on some posts that I started over my holiday vacation, but I do update you on my nutrition challenge at the end of this post.
My girlfriend invited me over to bake for the holidays. She had quite a few recipes to make for gifts. This one caught my eye. I am a huge pretzel fan. Such a big fan that I don’t buy them on a regular basis since a family size bag seems to last me less than a week. My breakfast, lunch and dinner turn into random handfuls of the salty delights. Twists, sticks, rods, nuggets, thins, Bavarian – I don’t discriminate.
3 1/4 Cups Salted Miniature Twist Pretzels
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Stick Unsalted Butter – room temperature
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Large Egg Yolk
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 4 by 14 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment. (We used parchment lined cookie sheets – it worked fine.)
- Pulse 1 3/4 cups pretzels in a food processor until powdery. Transfer 1/2 cup to a bowl; discard any remaining pretzel powder. Stir in flour and baking powder. Transfer remaining 1 1/2 cups pretzels to food processor, and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.
- Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and beat in egg yolk, then pretzel-flour mixture, until combined. Mix in 1/2 cup chopped pretzels.
- Press dough evenly into pan. Top dough with 1/4 cup chopped pretzels, pressing slightly; discard any remaining pretzels.
- Bake shortbread until pale brown and firm in the center, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let shortbread cool for 1 hour. Remove shortbread from pan, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide rectangles using a serrated knife.
I pretty much missed my opportunity to take photos in between steps. We were working on several recipes at once and this is all I got.
This is what the pretzel shortbread looked like after 30 minutes in the oven… We let the shortbread cool before cutting with a knife… which later led to using a pizza cutter.
We had some breakage due to not really paying much attention to the thickness throughout the cookie sheet. We probably should have taken them out closer to the 20 minute side. The end pieces got a little too crispy.
All in all, they were delicious! I immediately wanted a latte or mug of tea to go with them.
Fruit and Veggie Challenge Update
I am 10 days into my work’s 8 -week nutrition challenge. I have consumed just short of 90 combined vegetable and fruit servings. I’ve earned 194.5 points for my team. You get 2 points for vegetables, 1 point for fruit servings and a bonus point if your selections fall into a “Top Choice” category – think Kale, Spinach, Tomatoes, Oranges, Edamame.
The hardest part of the challenge has been to keep the fridge stocked with a variety of items without blowing my grocery budget. One of the daily goals is to hit every color category of fruits and vegetables. Apparently I eat a lot from the green and red categories. My go to green and red category items are: Spinach, edamame, red or green leaf lettuce, brussels sprouts, broccoli, apples, beets, tomatoes, strawberries and red peppers. I had to start buying “new to me” items for the blue category: blueberries, blackberries and purple cabbage. My orange category has been limited to carrots, oranges, tangerines and orange bell peppers. I need more variety there. Sweet potatoes have been eaten on occasion – I finally made my own baked sweet potato fries instead of relying on packages of frozen. Yellow has also been a tough category – thank God for mushrooms. I have also had a few Yukon golds, crookneck squash and bananas. My grocery list for next week includes, garbanzo beans and parsnips (yellow), eggplant and dates (blue) and butternut squash (orange) – I’ve gotta keep switching it up to keep challenging myself .
The blender graphic is part of Kaiser’s Mix It Up program that I’m participating in. I pulled a screen shot from one of my daily logs. You just click on the item and it puts it in the blender, pretty cool.
On this day, I had a huge Fuji apple (262 grams) with my Greek yogurt for breakfast. For lunch I had a spinach salad with beets, carrots, goat cheese and balsamic dressing and a garden burger on an English muffin. Dinner included chicken, a baked yukon gold potato and a side of cooked purple cabbage. My snack for the day was grape tomatoes and a protein/almond milk smoothie after my workout.
It is really cool to see how the days play out. I’m having fun experimenting and the Mix It Up website and app have some great recipes that I plan on trying and showcasing on the blog. If you are interested.
I don’t want to bore people with fruit and veggie updates, but this challenge really is changing the way I eat. I ate a lot of veggies before the challenge, but not from every color category. It’s been fun trying to hit that daily goal.
Right now my team is in 9th place. It seems to change daily… sometimes we go as low as 15th place, other days we are as high as 7th. There are currently just over 90 teams participating. My team was super competitive for the workout challenge, but this time around, we are more interested in reaching our own personal nutrition goals. We all want our blenders to represent the rainbow of colors, that’s for sure.
Have you ever participated in a nutrition challenge? If you work outside the home, does your employer have a wellness program? Name a fruit or vegetable that I haven’t listed that you think I should add to my list.