Tuesday, May 1, 2012

When Sad, Bake.

I've been sad lately and just feel so helpless. Our baby loss community continues to be rocked and there's simply nothing any of us can do about it. Knowing what it's like to be in those shoes has me all frustrated because I know there isn't anything any of us can do to care for a friend in mourning. I found that one of the best ways to distract myself is to get in the kitchen and make something. It's what I spent a good portion of the last 17 months doing after we lost Andrew and what I spent the majority of my pregnancy with B doing.

I don't know what it is. I think my mind is allowed to be set free when I am creating. And since I'm not too entertained by actual craft projects, my craft is in the kitchen. Even if it's a failure (and often it is), I still enjoy the process of creation. This type of failure is easy. And what my husband told me the other day after I made a new dish for dinner that wasn't the best-- you miss all of the shots you don't take in life. As small of a situation as that was, we have to come to the understanding that no matter how much life can fail us, we have to take the risk. In relation to baby loss, I am sure most of us can agree that our children were worth the effort-- even if our time with them was too short and we spend the rest of our lives wondering and wishing it ended up differently. We're worse for wear but richer in love. I hope Becky and her family feel the love and support we are trying to provide and I hope they are thankful for each moment they had with their daughter. It doesn't provide any consolation for having to say goodbye to their beautiful daughter and it surely doesn't erase the anger and frustration, but we hope that of all things, love abounds.

My latest project that I've made twice already (both Sunday and Monday!) are pretzel bites. I saw these on Pinterest and quickly thought back to my struggles with baking in general and how Ray and I attempted to make bagels when we were newly married and failed miserably at it. I surely thought pretzels would be an enormous fail as it requires the same general steps as a bagel would-- boiling and baking. Oh, and there's yeast involved. That right there might just spell disaster because science steps in and offers to screw everything up. But, this was a success. A huge success. So much of a success that we sat there eating nearly all of the pretzel bites within minutes of them coming out of the oven. I can see honey wheat pretzels and cinnamon sugar pretzels and cheesy pretzel bites in our future.

Recipe: Homemade Pretzel Bites (from All Recipes.com)
  • 1 1/8 cups water (70 to 80 degrees F)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • coarse salt to sprinkle
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
Add first four ingredients and mix in a stand mixer on level 2 for about 5 minutes. Roll into small, 1-inch balls.
Take 8 cups of water and 1/2 cup baking soda and bring to a boil. Drop about 6 balls of dough in at a time and remove them with a slotted spoon after about 15 seconds.
Drop them onto a paper towel so the water can drain. Repeat until all have been boiled.
Once boiling process is done, place each one on an oiled cookie sheet. I used olive oil.
Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes on the middle rack. I watched them once it hit the 8-minute mark and allowed them to brown well until about 10 minutes.
Melt a few tablespoons of butter and baste the top of each one-- well. The more butter, the better it will taste, obviously. Sprinkle with coarse salt. I actually have pretzel salt leftover from those frozen Super Pretzel packages. They always provide way too much salt.
Enjoy. I'd eat them within a day-- even hours maybe-- because after awhile they start to lose their pretzel-like texture and taste more like a dense piece of buttered bread. From start to finish, no more than 30 minutes. No waiting for bread to rise or anything like that. These taste just like those mall buttered pretzel places, you guys. So incredibly delicious.


Alli (and Tommy, too!) said... [Reply to comment]

These were oh-so-yummy! Can't wait to make them. Oh, wait ... who am I kidding? Can't wait to come to your house and eat them again ;)

Tiffany said... [Reply to comment]

you are right, we all feel so helpless . wishing there was something ANYTHING we could do for becky. but we all know better. we know that at this stage, the start of their grief journey, there is very little that can be done to "soften the blow" or to mend their even further broken hearts. and so we send our love and our thoughts, and let her know that here we sit and wait for her as long as she needs us to. but my god, i wish so much that she didn't have to do this again.

those pretzel bites look so tasty. wish i lived closer so i could pop by and eat some. ;)

Kristi said... [Reply to comment]

I'm impressed with your baking skills!! Let me know if you try peanut butter pretzels (and by let me know, I mean please can I have some?) :-)

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I think I just repinned these from you - but if not I need to because those look awesome.

Good distraction. Wish we never had a need to escape the cruel reality that's out there.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Lovely baking. I've been in tears about Evelynn since hearing the news. Just heartbroken....

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

Mmmm... yummy! Might have to try these before I start baking my own bread soon. A little practice never hurt.

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

I am sorry to hear about your blm friend. such tragedy and hurt. life is just not fair sometimes.

can you overnight me some of those?!! then look amazing!

Solange, Nik and Caitlin said... [Reply to comment]


Renel said... [Reply to comment]

Awesome... I'm definitely doing that. I thought I commented on your post yesterday. I was crying so much yesterday after hearing about Evelyn. I cried today and it's just so much to fathom such tragedy. My heart just breaks for Becky and her husband. It also really scares me. I know its not about me but it's impossible not to go there. Your baking idea sounds perfect.

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Mmm. Mall-tasting pretzels and baking distractions. Yes, please.

I cried today on my drive home thinking about Becky. What you said about love abounding is beautiful, and you're right that it's no consolation for the loss of Evelynn. But still important that they were able to love her so much.