These Rosemary Pretzels from Two Peas and their Pod will be perfect for your next dinner party.  They are easy, soft, savory with just a hint of rosemary and the cheese sauce…I almost ate it right out of the pot for dinner last night.

This is what you will need:

Note: I used American instead of Cheddar cheese.  I simply prefer the creaminess of American cheese as it melts.

(Trick: Roll your dough between the palm of your hands until you have a short rope. Then grabbing one end of the coil, slowly circle it through the air like you are going to twist a towel for a towel fight…ask your son, brother, or husband if you have no idea what I am talking about.)

1. For the pretzels: combine water, sugar, yeast, and butter. Let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Add salt, flour, and rosemary to the mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

3. Coat a large bowl with oil, add the dough. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring water to a boil in a large pot.

5. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope. .

To shape into pretzels, take the right side and cross over to the left. Cross right to left again and press the ends into the lower circle of the pretzel (or make other shapes).  Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels in the water solution, 2 at a time for 30 seconds, splashing the tops with the warmed water using a spoon. Remove with a large flat slotted spatula. Place 4 pretzels on each baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with sea salt. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.

6. Remove pretzels from oven and let cool on a wire baking rack.

7. To make the Rosemary Cheese Sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour. Pour in the milk and whisk until the mixture thickens. Stir in shredded cheese, stir until cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in fresh rosemary and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with pretzels.

Enjoy!

You can find the original recipe here.

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It’s Monday. My pillow is sad that I left and my tea cup is wishing it was a bottomless pit. I want to curl back up into bed and start Monday tomorrow.  But, I can’t and it is a beautiful sun-shining day.  So if you are having a slow start to your week too… read below for a little inspiration:

 

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I recently just finished giving my website and blog a facelift…or better said an extreme makeover using the ProPhoto customizable site theme.   ProPhoto made it super easy to customize my site through the use of controls and hundreds of point and click options. They helped me go from bland to branded. So if you haven’t had a chance, go ahead and check out the new look.

Each detail on my site is all about who I am as a person and as a photographer. Why?  Because when clients book a session, they get me- goofy, smiley, sometimes quirky…Cassandra. My work is a reflection of my personality. So my logo, the layout, the color scheme is all designed to give clients a sneak peak into my life, my likes, and my style. ProPhoto helps me do that.

ProPhoto is an easy-to-use tool that allows me create a one of a kind site…all by myself. And I don’t need to know coding! So every color, image, menu, gallery, header, widget… was designed by yours truly.  And it was easy (and I am not tech savvy)!

Here are 5 ways that ProPhoto helped me brand my website and blog.

1. You can upload an image just about anywhere!

Many of you have been asking about the designer of the  “elephant” logo and the hand drawn images throughout the site. These hand drawn images play a HUGE part in my branding.  To answer the question… I drew them, but ProPhoto made it super easy to incorporate them throughout my site. The sketches speak to a playful “Silverstienish” part of me that loves to draw and paint when I am not holding a camera.  If you look around the site you will find hand drawn uploaded images just about everywhere- in my menu, in my contact section, beneath each post in the call to action links (Pin it, Share it on Facebook, etc.), as title backgrounds, and many… many other places.

2. Use a template or make it your own!

ProPhoto does provide templates, but you can also choose to build and create your own template.  This is what I chose to do.

I love white.  White dishes, white walls, white furniture. white clothes.  Because it is simple, clean, and everything goes with white. Hence, the website is white! But yours doesn’t have to be. Go ahead and style yours after you.  Choose color, a damask wallpaper background, or make it look like a magazine.  For me it was a clean, simple, white website and blog that highlighted the rolly polly babies, silly children, and beautiful families I photograph.

3. Showcase LARGE photos!

ProPhoto was designed to help photographers showcase their work. Take a scroll through the blog and you will see large images, not thumbnails, that allow me to show off the beauty of each family I photograph.  Each session that I post speaks to the branding of Cassandra Plummer Photography- my style, what the sessions are like, and how much fun we have together.  ProPhoto helps me communicate all of that with large impressive images.

4. Connect to Social Media.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest are all ways that clients can connect with me on a daily basis.  ProPhoto enables me to use my blog to connect to social media platforms in a variety of ways.

5. Impressive Galleries.

I can create impressive and easy-to-use galleries and slideshows to showcase my work with ProPhoto.  My favorite is the Lightbox Gallery…which you can see here in my portfolio or here “In the Kitchen.”  I love to bake, cook and share it with my readers. The lightbox gallery allows me to create a thumbnail recipe index…which is perfect for figuring out what recipe your belly is growling to eat.

If you haven’t yet, go check out the ProPhoto site.  I am seriously head over heels in love with it.  And theie staff, is simply amazing! Really, like Apple amazing.

If you have more questions about how I used ProPhoto to customize my site, please leave a note below…and I will do my best to answer :)

 

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This salmon recipe is just so good that you will be licking your plate and staying in for date night. Oh, and its super easy too.

Here is what you will need:

 

Note: I like to use Alaskan Salmon if possible.  Alaskan Salmon is caught in the deep, icy, clean waters of Alaska which are mostly pollutant free.

Directions:

Season both sides of your Salmon fillets with salt and pepper and let it set for a few minutes. Heat a pan (I like to use nonstick for fish) over medium to high heat. Add a little olive oil and cook each side for 5 minutes or until the salmon flakes with a fork. Serve with rice.

In a small saucepan  heat 1/3 cup butter, 2 Tablespoons of Marmelade/ Apricot Jelly, and 1 Tablespoon of Balsamic until everything is melted.  Remove from heat. Pour over cooked salmon. (I first found this Magical Butter Sauce over at the Steamy Kitchen…where Jaden claims to pour it on just about everything…soon you will too).

Now for the Mediterranean Vegetables and Hummus Dressing…

You can find a vegetable mix, Hummus dressing, and Feta with Mediterranean herbs at Trader Joes.  All you have to do is mix some feta into the vegetable medley and add some dressings.

Note: If you can’t find a prepared vegetable medley, you can make your own by dicing an assortment of veggies.  Here are some ideas: carrots, green peppers, red cabbage, green cabbage, broccoli, radish, celery, and jicama.

You can prepare this date night meal in less than 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

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When it comes to finding the best products I ask friends and family, even though Google and I are BFF’s.  Because a word of mouth opinion, let’s you know how soft it was, how fast it broke, and if it really is as cute as the online store pictures.  And so I am starting Mommy Approved.  “Mommy Approved” will be a post all about a product that one of my mommy clients just loves.  This first product is a favorite from baby Niles and his mommy.

Nile’s mommy loves these swaddling blankets by Aden + Anais which are not only great for swaddling but also as a stroller cover + burp cloth + nursing shield + summertime and tummy time blanket + change table cover + portable crib sheet.  They are breathable, stylish, soft, and quite large in size (but they also roll up small to fit in your diaper bag).

You can view Nile’s newborn session here.

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