I was just telling some friends how busy my schedule has been lately. I am sad I haven’t been able to post much of the things on my mind but I have to stop and post about this.
While folding an endless pile of towels the other day I was also watching Undercover Boss which featured the Philly Pretzel Factory. Lets just say it was a mouth watering episode! So it got me thinking that although I am not the best cook and certainly not the best at making bread products they made it look very easy to make pretzels. I got online and found a recipe that looked simple enough for me to try making pretzel bites last night.
The dough was very easy to make using my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook. I let it rise like it suggested and then got my son involved (after much hand washing) with helping me roll out the dough into the long strips. After cutting them into small bite size pieces they simply are dunked into boiling water for about 30 seconds, placed on a greased cookie sheet, brushed with an egg wash mixture and heavy salt and then they are ready to bake. Of course it smelled amazing but I was pleasantly suprised at how they tasted! Mine didn’t come out looking as amazing as the photo but maybe with time I can master that too. The recipe also said you can do cinnamon and sugar instead of salt but I also think it is worth trying with butter and parmesean cheese! The recipe also has suggestions for dipping sauces. I had honey mustard on hand but my husband made an olive oil and Italian herb sauce too.
Click here for the recipe: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/homemade-soft-pretzel-bites/
What other spices, variations or sauces would be good on these pretzel bites?
It is RODEO time in Houston. Every year this time the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is in town for a few weeks. It usually is here during spring break so it becomes one of our day trips as a family. If you have never been to something like this it can be an all day event. Not only do they have a carnival with tons of rides, games and food vendors but there is also over 480 retail vendors with everything like cowboy boots, candy, jewelry, scented candles, furniture, clothing, kitchen gadgets, etc. They also have a kids zone with fun exhibits, rides and interactive activities. Want to see an egg hatch live? They have it! Want to see them milk a cow? They have it! Want to walk around thousands of pens full of stinky pigs, cows, horses, chickens, etc? They have it! They also have livestock auctions and competitions.
The big event is the rodeo and concert held inside Reliant Stadium. They always have a concert after the rodeo that features a headline singer or group. Although I am not a huge country music fan I am impressed with the A list of stars that have sold out shows each year like Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Reba McEntire. The rodeo itself includes bucking horses and bull riding, chuck wagon races, barrel races, the calf scramble, calf roping, etc. One of my favorites by far is the “Mutton Bustin”. The announcer actually puts it the best when he says “this is the part of the show where we strap our kids to farm animals and call it entertainment”. If you have never seen it you have to watch the video below. Basically it is a child around 5-6 years old wearing a heavily padded vest and helmet put on the back of a sheep, told to grab on to its wool, and then hang on for dear life when the gate opens. As the sheep runs across the pen the object is to see who can stay on the longest. Over the years I have seen a few kids with tears but the majority have huge grins on their faces and are pumping their fists in the air with excitement after they take that dive to the ground.
What is your favorite thing about a rodeo?
Thankfully most of my friends and family are caring enough to use proper phone etiquette but I often have the unfortunate opportunity to speak with customers who could use a little schooling on what they should and should not be doing when on the phone. You would be surprised at how often these incidence happen. These calls could be uncomfortable in any situation but especially to a customer service agent speaking with a complete stranger! Here are just some of the things we are subjected to listening to:
- Using the Bathroom: Seriously, we can hear you! Especially when you flush! Please do your business before or after the call and if it is an emergency either ask us to hold or call us back. Just don’t take us with you!
- Television or Radio TOO LOUD! It is very hard to get your information when we cannot hear anything but our TV commercial going in the background. What is worse is those customers who cannot hear us either but don’t think to turn their volume down in order to hear better. I am not going to scream to compensate for your loud TV!
- Eating: Munching in my ear is bad enough but when you have a mouth full of food and trying to give me your contact information it is impossible to understand you!
- Watching Porn: Just like using the bathroom we can hear this too! Please please please take care of your personal business before calling and do not make us listen to your porn during the call. I have asked people to turn their TV down in this situation but believe me I will hang up if it doesn’t stop or I feel you are doing “anything else” during that time. GROSS!
- Baby Crying: When is it ever a good time to order something or call someone when your kid is screaming bloody murder? Please get them back to sleep, give them a bottle or calm them down before calling. Certainly do not hold a screaming child when you are on the phone because being that close to the phone that is all we can hear!
- Dogs Barking: This is basically the same as the baby crying. If your dog is trying to warn a squirrel or mail man to stay out of your yard please put them up before calling or go into another room!
- Gases: Oh yes. We do have ears and we can hear every fart and burp so cover the phone, put us on mute or excuse yourself for a moment please.
- Fighting: It’s probably not a good time to call and order a product when you’re in the middle of a fight with someone at home! We are literally the fly on the wall and know all your business now!
- Swearing: This can be both happy and angry customers believe it or not. Some just have incorporated swearing into their everyday vocabulary and will just let words fly when doing a normal order. Others get angry and the words start coming. Please realize you are still speaking to a human being and swearing is not acceptable. We do have the authorization to hang up on anyone swearing if we have asked them to stop and they don’t.
- Prank Calls: It is bad enough from the kids but as an adult grow up! Even with a few beers in you it isn’t funny to call an order line for a kitchen appliance and ask what the customer service agent is wearing. You really think we sit around in lingerie waiting to take your call? Oh and by the way, we do have Caller ID so you’re not so anonymous anymore!
I am sure the list can go on but these are the most common of the phone etiquette problems I encounter on a pretty regular basis. Just realize that although someone cannot see you they certainly can still hear what is going on. Remember our children are learning proper etiquette from us. Take care of what you can before getting on the phone or even answering a phone call with anyone to avoid an inconsiderate situation on that call!
What unpleasant things have you had to listen to while on a call?
- An Unsaid Etiquette (interactive360.wordpress.com)
- The Basics of Phone Etiquette (dallasbelle.com)
- What is Etiquette? (whatiquette.wordpress.com)
People sometimes just have no clue! In an effort to be conversational or maybe even a show of support often comments are made that just don’t come out right and can offend someone. Nothing could be worse for an already hormonally challenged pregnant woman.
I came across this article on Yahoo that originally appeared on WomensDay.com which had me reflecting on not only my own pregnancies but the times I have witnessed offensive comments being made to others. We certainly cannot control what others say and of course we can find offensive comments being made at any time, to anyone, for any reason! It just seems that those un-welcomed and uncomfortable comments are more common at a time when a woman can be more emotional and insecure. Just because a woman is pregnant does not mean she is ready to listen to other women’s birth stories. Particularly if they were not a good experience! Not every woman wants people touching her belly, especially strangers. During one of my pregnancies I actually had a woman (stranger) in the grocery store ask if she could rub my belly. Uh, NO!
Thankfully I never really got any of these comments because being a sarcastic person I am I probably would have given them an equally rude comment right back. Here are some I have heard said to others though:
- “Was this a planned pregnancy?”
- “You look like your going to pop!”
- “You really waddle when you walk now!”
- “You are really swollen!”
- “Who is the dad?”
- “Wow, you’re going to have a fat baby!”
- “It’s about time! We thought you would never have children!”
……………..and the list could go on!
Here is a list of the Top 10 Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Woman as listed in the Yahoo article.
- Are you sure your not having twins?
- Your so tiny you can barely tell your pregnant! That can’t be healthy.
- Are you disappointed it’s not a girl? (or boy)
- You’re going to breastfeed, right?
- Oh, you’re wide! You’re definitely having a girl!
- I was back in my skinny jeans a week after giving birth.
- I hope the baby gets your nose!
- Did you see the show about the baby with …(insert horrible disease here)…
- That must have been a surprise!
- Aren’t you too old to have a baby?
Oh if everyone would just think before speaking! Click here to see more of this article on Yahoo.
What comments have you experience during your pregnancy or heard said to someone else that was pregnant?
Photo Credit: grouprecipes.com
My husband’s family grew up loving Red Velvet Cake which quickly became a favorite of theirs for birthdays or special occasions. I had never tried one until I had married my husband. The recipe is said to be the actual Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake served at their hotel and after trying it you could certainly see why. Although if you search it online as Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake you will find a few variations of the recipe.
I have tried to make cakes from scratch before and they have never turned out as tasty or easy as this one. I have to admit that if I am short on time I have cheated and made a store-bought red velvet cake however I will not cheat on the icing. This icing is to die for! It is not like a traditional cream cheese frosting you will find on many Red Velvet Cakes. This one is almost like whipped cream but is very rich. It also is fairly simple to make as long as you follow the instructions and make sure the flour mixture is completely cooled before preparing the remainder of the icing.
This still is the cake my husband loves for his birthday and of course being red it is perfect for Valentines too. I am never so fancy as to do multiple layers as shown but I have cut the cake in half and put a layer of icing in the center. Although I have never done it before these would make really fun cupcakes for Valentines parties too. If you have never had red velvet cake, or never had this recipe you HAVE to try it! Click HERE for the recipe:
What is your favorite cake or frosting?