Twisted Treats

Are you ready for some football? As we speak, the Pro Bowl is commencing and in one week, the Colts and the Saints will face-off for the National Championship! So what does that have to do with health, you ask? Well, with Super Bowl parties galore, the snacking landscape can be a minefield for diet disasters. Pizza bagel bites, cocktail weenies or chips and dip anyone?

It’s certainly OK to splurge every so often, as we discussed around Thanksgiving. But if there are more nutritious options available, it’s at least possible to opt for the healthier choice if you prefer. So if you’re hosting (or even if you’re a guest…bring a dish to share!) set out a fruit tray, hummus with veggies or these partially whole grain, low-fat homemade pretzels.

This recipe comes from a family magazine (exact name unknown due to some strategic scissor work) most likely published about 20 years ago. I found it in a well-loved pasted together cookbook in my Mom’s kitchen. Please claim this recipe if it’s yours and I’ll give credit where it’s due!

The ingredient rundown:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water, 4 cups water for boiling
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus 1 Tbsp. for topping
  • 3 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Pour out the yeast into a bowl with 1 tsp. of the sugar and 1/2 cup warm water. Let this mixture rest for about five minutes while the yeast reacts.

Next, mix both kinds of flours with 1 1/2 tsp. salt and add the yeast liquid mixture. (That’s all the ingredients!) Sprinkle some of the extra all-purpose flour on a clean counter and knead dough, adding flour as needed, until stretchy, evenly textured and not sticky.

Coat a bowl in non-stick spray and turn the dough in this spray so it is lightly covered. Leave the dough in this bowl to rise for an hour—covering with a clean dish towel is a good idea.

After your kitchen hiatus, get your aggression out by punching the dough down. Separate the dough into ten even pieces on a floured surface; then use your hands to make “pretzel ropes” about 1 1/2 ft. long. Shape these as you please (creativity is encouraged!) and let the formed pretzels rise on the counter for another 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425* and top two baking sheets with nonstick spray. Put a medium-sized sauce or skillet pan on the stove and pour in 4 cups of water, baking soda and the other 2 tsp. sugar. After this liquid is simmering, cook each pretzel for 30 seconds per side in the fluid-filled pan. When the pretzels have been boiled, place them on the baking sheet. Brush each pretzel with the beaten egg white and top with salt. Feel free to add any other spices to suit your preferences!

Toss the pans into the oven for 15 to 18 minutes or so—just remove the pretzels when browned to your liking.

Hehe, get it? Karla loves weights!

Three pretzel variations. Do the twist ;)

Healthful Bites loves some football! (That’s supposed to be the field goal uprights and a football if you can’t tell).

Feel free to serve and enjoy with guilt-free dips such as lycopene-packed pizza/marinara sauce or low-calorie honey/spiced mustards.

Do you have any go-to cocktail or house party snacks, treats or meals?

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