First things first before we dive into soft pretzels! A big thank-you to Gary for putting my first ever guest post on his blog! He’s been very helpful to a beginner blogger and definitely knows what he’s doing! Check out my guest post here:

Frugal is the New Cool

Pretzel1Now for the soft pretzels! I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for a while now and they eventually turned out pretty well. Took me three hours with some mishaps along the way so I’m not sure I want to make them a second time. It takes a lot of arm muscle which I have a decent amount of, but could’ve definitely used more of. I really need to read my food processor manual again as I totally just dumped in a bunch of liquid on top of 4 cups of flour. I’m so used to using a mixer! The liquid started seeping out and then I ended up making the dough by hand.

Still it was fun to make and I now can form little pretzels pretty easily! I can imagine this being a lot of fun with kids too! I’m glad I finally got to try out this recipe. This might be one of those things where it’s just much easier to buy the pretzels than to make them though. A lot of hard work and time going into 28 pretzels! Sometimes it’s much easier to go to the store to buy it than to make it. Of course you don’t get that homemade quality but you also save three hours! The ones I made are definitely cheaper and healthier.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try it out yourself!

Guy Fieri’s Pretzels with a Twist from Food Network Magazine
Ingredients
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons dry active yeast
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
2 and 1/2 Cups whole-wheat flour
2 and 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 Teaspoon sea salt
2 Large eggs
Toppings like coarse sea salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds

Directions
1. Mix 1 and 1/2 cups warm water with the yeast and agave. Set aside for 5 minutes.
2. In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, pulse the whole-wheat flour, 2 cups all-purpose flour, and the sea salt. Add 1 egg and the yeast mixture slowly and pulse in 10 second intervals until the dough comes together after 3 pulses. You can also make the dough using a mixer or even by hand. If doing it by hand you’ll have to knead the dough a bit more to get it to be an even consistency. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead 10 to 12 times adding up to 3/4 cup flour if dough is too sticky. Cut the dough into 4 equal portions and cover with a clean towel.
3. On a floured board, roll out one piece of dough into a 11×14 rectangle.
4. Cut the dough into seven 11×2 inch strips.
5. One at a time, pinch the cut long edges of each strip together and roll into a 12 inch rope. Transfer the rope to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Grab the ends with separate hands, make a U shape, cross the left end over the right to make a pretzel shape. Then cross the left over the right once to make a twist. Repeat with the remaining dough and space out pretzels 3 inches apart. Set aside for 10-15 minutes and preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Pretzel2

6. Beat the remaining egg in a bowl. Brush the pretzels with egg then add whatever toppings you like! You can use course sea salt, sesame seeds, onion flakes, poppy seeds or anything you can think of. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until browned.

It was a lot of fun to make these even though very labor and time intensive. Maybe I’ll make sure my husband is home next time to roll out the dough for me. He’s got stronger arms than I do. It only took 12 minutes for the pretzels to bake in my oven so be careful and check! At 16 minutes for the first batch they came out a bit more baked than I would have liked them to be.

What’s the craziest recipe you’ve ever done so far?


Before I dive into the joys and pitfalls of living in an apartment, I want to thank Anthony over at Financial Freedom Ideas for posting an interview from yours truly!

Check it out if you feel like it!
The Pursuit of Green Interview

Photo Credit: Angel~Lily via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Angel~Lily via Compfight cc

Now back to apartment life. There are some that love apartment loving and others who would much rather have their own house. I’ve enjoyed living in an apartment, but I’m ready to have a place to call my own permanently! I mean a place to call our own with my husband of course. There are plenty who are happy to go on living in apartments rather than having to deal with a house. To each their own. Buying a house isn’t always necessary, and it all just depends on what you prefer.

Renting vs Owning
The mortgage bill will be much higher than rent, but you are then paying for something you will own eventually. Between my husband and I, we’ve paid over $100,000 in rent already! We get a place to live for a month, but we don’t have anything to show for it. It feels like I’m just putting money into a black hole since I see it go away but I get nothing for it. Owning my own home sounds a lot more appealing to me than continuing to rent for the rest of my life. I can own a home outright in 30 years or less.

Neighbors
The funnest part about apartment living is not being to choose your neighbors. We’ve had some unpleasant experiences with some of ours. A couple that constantly fought loudly in the middle of the night, smokers that would go outside to save their place but the smoke would come straight into ours, the upstairs neighbor who flooded her bathtub, and the list goes on. I’m sure everyone has their own bad neighbor story. The good thing is that usually neighbors don’t last long. Either they move, or you move eventually. With a home, you may be able to kind of pick your neighbors, but you’re pretty much stuck with them for a very, very long time.

Location, location, location
We have a lovely place that is in a great location of LA! The one thing I do love about renting is being able to live anywhere I want. Once we buy a house though we’re stuck in one location for a long time. I’ll miss being able to try out different neighborhoods and discover new places.

Maintenance and upkeep
Apartment definitely wins out on this one. The only thing you need to do as a tenant is to notify the landlord of any problems and they will usually fix it. This is obviously a big money sucker for home owners because repairs and upkeep can be pretty costly. I’ve been warned by others about roof replacement and yard work. I’m sure down the road I’m going to wish I didn’t have to do the maintenance, but right now the prospect of our own place outweighs that!

Utilities
The majority of apartments I’ve lived in include some utilities in the bill. Water is always included, but electricity, and gas are not generally. Apartments have lower utility bills due to that, plus they are usually smaller. Smaller living area means fewer lights and appliances you can cram into the space. Our electric bill is only about $20 a month currently. Once we move into a house, it’s definitely going to be higher!

 

In the short term, renting is definitely a more inexpensive way to go. Buying a home is a pretty big commitment and will take a lot of work through the years! I’m very excited though to not share walls with others and be able to mow some grass. Preferably, I’ll have a small yard that won’t take too much time to cut.

Are you a renter or a homeowner? What do you like about it?


Photo Credit: tapasparida via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: tapasparida via Compfight cc

Today this blog has officially reached 1,000 page views!!!!! What! I’m so excited to share this with you. It’s been fun these last two months writing blog posts and sharing with everyone. It’s something I look forward to and I always have several ideas rattling round my head. I’ve had to start writing down these topics for later to write about as I have too many things I want to write about.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I really hope that the stuff I post does help people out in some way. Either for amusement, plain fun, tips on saving money or being earth-friendly, or just curiosity. I think my biggest fan is still my sister, but I know that if I wasn’t writing anything good then I would know for sure. Let’s just say she would definitely tell me if all I was writing was drivel. Thankfully she’s just been suggesting possible blog topics for me! This means I have a big sister approved blog site. Family is a pretty good filter to put things through. They don’t hold back!

I’m learning a lot by doing this and trying out new things every week it seems like. There’s a lot that goes into a blog behind the scenes. A huge time commitment that I’ve had to set realistic expectations for myself. For example I’ve told myself to take a break on weekends. Writing every single day of the week takes a lot of work and time and I’m sure I would fizzle out if I wrote every single day. It makes me more excited when Monday comes around and I’m allowed to write something.

Not only do I get to share my experiences with others, but I’m also learning more myself. This gives me the extra motivation to research subjects that I’ve always been curious about. Then I can write about it and share it with you!

I also really love the blogging community! I’ve become more active and it’s a lot of fun meeting other bloggers and seeing how each person views things. There’s a lot of great blogs that are so inspiring. People are pretty darn nice and so positive. In a way the blogging community is like one big support group. Thanks so much for all the support!

So readers, are there any topics you would like to know more about? Taking topic requests now!


I’m so excited to share this link with you. Jacob from the popular blog My Personal Finance Journey has posted my reader profile! Thanks so much for doing this Jacob! It’s wonderful that he does this and it really helps promote the positive attitudes within the blogging community.

Check out my reader profile here:
The Pursuit of Green’s reader profile