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25 January 2016

Pretzel Lady

I post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Except when I don't. Like last Friday. When my mom didn't see anything on the blog on Friday, she sent me an email asking if everything was okay. Moms always know when something is wrong. That's what makes them moms. Well, my mom's intuition was right again. Something was wrong. I had a tummy bug and pretty much stayed in bed all day. {By the way, living on a boat when you have a tummy bug = not fun.} Blogging just wasn't happening. But, I'm all back to normal, eating chocolate with reckless abandon, and we've returned to our regularly scheduled programming on The Cynical Sailor.

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I've got a few names at the marina - Ellen, the Crazy Cat Lady and the Pretzel Lady. Ellen is pretty obvious - it's the name my mom gave me. It's a good name. I like it. I'm usually the only one around named Ellen. So, imagine my surprise when I saw that someone had written down my name on the BBQ sign-up list a few weeks ago and said I was bringing dessert. I don't like being told what to do, so I crossed dessert off and wrote down pretzels instead.

Turns out there actually is another Ellen living on a boat by herself at the marina just now. What are the odds? I wonder what she thought when she saw that someone crossed dessert off and wrote in pretzels instead. I bet she doesn't like being told what to do either.

I used to always hate these potluck things because I never knew what to bring. Or, I've got a great idea for what to bring, but never have the required ingredients on board. But, now I've discovered pretzels and they've transformed my life.  

Okay, I know what you're thinking. Pretzels? Really? You might as well just slap a bag of potato chips on the table. That would be just as exciting.  

No, we're not talking about ordinary pretzels here. These are magical pretzels. They have the power to get people's attention. Sometimes, it's in a good way and they say things like, "Wow, these are great! They go perfectly with a beer!" Unfortunately, other times, they say things like, "Oh my god, what is on these! My mouth is on fire! Quick, hand me a beer to wash down the taste!"

Yes, they're spicy pretzels!

Super simple to make. You take a bag of ordinary pretzels. You know how pretzels are a great low-fat treat? We're going to change all that by pouring a lot of oil into a bowl. Then we add a package of ranch dressing mix, cayenne pepper, lemon pepper and garlic salt. Mix, let sit for a few hours so the spicy oil sinks in and enjoy. I use this recipe here.    

The last time I made them, I doubled the cayenne pepper and lemon pepper. What can I say, I like spicy food. Some people complained that they were too spicy. So, this last time, I cut back on the spice level. I'm sure some other people will complain this time. Too spicy for some, just right for others and bland for a select few. It's like Goldilocks and those bears all over again.

Just so that everyone knows what to expect, I labeled the container - "Spicy pretzels (but not as spicy as last time)."

  
Lately, I've extended my pretzel repertoire and have added pretzels covered in cinnamon sugar, chocolate and sprinkles to the BBQ potluck rotation. I haven't heard anyone complain about these ones. Just goes to show you that sugary treats are always popular. 

This is another easy way to transform low-fat pretzels into something your doctor would recommend you eat in moderation. 

 
Same basic principle as the spicy pretzels, except that you need a heat source. I use a microwave, but you could probably do this on the stove or in the oven. You mix up cinnamon, brown sugar and white sugar with some vegetable oil. Toss your pretzels in the sugary oil and then heat up for a minute in the microwave. Stir and heat for another minute and repeat again. Then, you sprinkle some chocolate morsels in the bowl, melt slightly in the microwave and give it another stir. I use this recipe here

You're then supposed to spread the pretzels out on some large baking trays. Well, clearly the author of the recipe doesn't live on a boat. Where would I store large baking trays? And considering my oven is the size of a bread box, what would I use large baking trays for?

You learn to adapt when you live on a boat. Some waxed paper spread out on the table works just fine. Let the pretzels set for a while, put in a container and tuck away in the fridge until needed. 
 
Like with the spicy pretzels, I labeled these so that people know what to expect - "Cinnamon sugar pretzels with white chocolate and sprinkles for extra fun." If I were you, I would use semi-sweet chocolate instead. I switched to white chocolate for this last batch and it didn't melt as well, so I ended up with some pretzels having rather ugly white chocolate clumps on them. Make sure you do add sprinkles though. They won't really stick that well to the pretzels, but they're colorful and make you smile when you sprinkle them on.
  

What types of things do you bring to potlucks? Go on, share your recipes! I'm always looking for new ideas, especially things that are easy to make.

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - we'd love for you to pop by and say hi!
    

12 comments:

  1. Yeah. I'm the chip lady. I hate going to potlucks because I never know what to bring and when I do figure something out, it never works out the way I see it in my mind. It's just too much pressure. Lol.

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    1. It is a lot of pressure :-) I can never think of what to bring. But, some folks have left some good ideas on our FB page, so I think I'll give one of them a go next time.

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  2. Love the pretzel idea. I take mine spicy like you like. No wonder I take medication for my mess up digestion system.

    We do a lot of pot luck breakfasts. We usually make scrambled eggs with diced ham and cheese. A huge hit with boaters. Never bring any back to the boat.

    Dinners are rare, but a huge salad is generally what we bring. It has everything in it too. Not very original, but potlucks can be so heavy and the salad is light and filling.

    Have a fabulous day Ellen. ☺

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    1. Having a potluck breakfast is such a good idea! Your scrambled eggs sound like a winner.

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  3. Did you ever met the other Ellen? And if you did, did she bring dessert or pretzels? ;-)

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com


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    1. I ran into a few days ago. Someone was talking to me and she walked up and he said something about being surrounded by all these Ellens. I was surprised to find out she is a real person. Really nice lady. I didn't ask her what she brought though, so that remains a mystery :-)

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  4. The pretzels sound good.
    We usually bring a salad, chocolate brownies or a seven layer dip.

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    1. Seven layer dip sounds like a good idea. Of course, not as good as brownies :-)

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  5. I've been on a bring-canned-3-bean-salad kick recently. No fuss and goes with almost anything. I'm with you on finding potlucks a bit of a drag, as well as a weight problem -- too many calories for too little protein. I love to cook interesting odd things, but just for a couple of friends.

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    1. I love the idea of 3 bean salad. I can keep some cans of that onboard for potlucks. I imagine you can jazz it up with other things you might have onboard like peppers etc.

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  6. Oohh, these pretzels sound so good! Thanks for sharing such a great idea. We need you in our boatyard .. LOL!

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    1. They're pretty easy to make and you can adapt the spicy pretzel recipe to suit - maybe different spices like curry powder etc.

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