Pretzel Pumpkins

Whether you subscribe to the traditions or even agree with it, Halloween in it’s current form is big business . Some years I join in, others I don’t. What can I say, I have a take it or leave it attitude towards dressing up and the boy is really too young to get involved. However, this year I have found myself feeling a little bit of Halloween love, partly because I was invited to several Halloween parties and partly thanks to the time vortex that is Pinterest! While this isn’t a post about Halloween as a festival or any of the other issues surrounding it (is it too commercial?, are we feeding our children too much sugar?, is trick or treating safe? etc, all of which are valid questions and should be answered by more learned folk than me!), it is about something I’ve made to give to friends this Halloween.

pumpkin

You may have seen my pictures on Instagram or Facebook of the Pretzel Pumpkins I made for the children’s party yesterday. I originally found them, via Pinterest, on a blog called Butter with a Side of Bread and couldn’t get over how cute and easy they looked. The hollows in the pretzels resemble the face of a pumpkin when covered in chocolate and despite never really going for anything quite so cutesy, this year I just couldn’t help myself! No they are not Slimming World friendly (I couldn’t even hazard a guess at how many syns one would be) but they went down a storm, with both the ladies and the children yesterday, so I’ve made some more for today’s party. And as so many people have asked me how I made them, I thought I’d write it up. You wont believe how easy they are.

IMG_8275

Ingredients. 300g of white chocolate, 1 tbsp of shortening, Pretzels, orange food colouring and green M&Ms.

IMG_8279

Break the white chocolate up and melt. I always melt chocolate in the microwave, but go slowly. This much only took 1 min and 10 secs. I’d start with 30 seconds, stir then blast again for another 30 seconds, stirring well each time.

IMG_8280

The shortening is to make the chocolate thick enough to coat, but thin enough to show the hollows of the pretzels (the face of the pumpkin). Melt it with the chocolate.

IMG_8281

I used about a teaspoon of this super concentrated Wilton colour, but you may need more or less depending on the type and brand you use. I think pastes would be better for this strong colour.

IMG_8285

I go slowly with the colour, adding a drop at a time, then stirring really well before adding more. Keep going until the colour is as bright as you want, but remember you can always add more, you can’t take it away! I used my glass jug as it doesn’t take on any colour.

IMG_8283

Separate out the green M&Ms. This many came from two large bags. Which does now mean I have lots of M&Ms left over. Not that Ben seems to mind! Someone suggested using green Smarties. Personally I think they’d be too big, but go for it if you’d rather.

IMG_8286

Then getting dipping. As messy as it may look I found using good old (clean) fingers was the best and neatest way to do this. Lay the wet pretzel on a baking sheet covered in greaseproof paper and gently push an M&M into the crook at the top while the chocolate is still wet.

IMG_8287

Now you could let them harden in a cool room, but as I have no particularly cold areas of my house and a curious toddler flying around, I felt it safer all round to put them in the fridge. Yes the chocolate sets too quickly and you loose that shine, but really, it was that or a wet chocolate pretzel covered toddler. And any way I don’t mind the matte look.

IMG_8297 (2)

And there you go. Peel them off the paper when set and enjoy. Even those who were dubious about the coloured white chocolate loved them.

I loved making them so much. I noticed the pretzel shape is also one of a heart. I think I may have a crack at making red ones for Valentines Day, although as you wont need to the see the hollows I might leave the shortening out.

Happy Halloween folks!

 

 

 

 Toddler Approved Tuesday
Mama-andmore

Slimming World Update – Week 67

Hi there buddy – how are you?

I’m not too bad thanks. Bit of an up and down week, as per. Some great days, spent with great friends and playing with my boy, some stressful days and even some days feeling a bit pants (probably as a result of the stressful days – did you know high levels of stress raise the levels of hormones in your body and after extended periods of stress, if everything goes back to normal, it can take up to 6 months for your body to recover? No neither did I!) Had a couple of situations where I ate things I wouldn’t normally for reasons that really weren’t reasons at all. It’s been a while since I’ve felt obliged to eat anything so it was a bit of a weird one actually, but c’est la vie. Anyway meh, what’s done is done. 0.5lb on. Disappointing but still 6 stone 4lb off.

Despite that, last nights group was wonderful for several reasons. Firstly it was Halloween themed with spooky decorations and a spooktacular SW quiz. Who doesn’t love a quiz? Here’s my team busily checking out the syn value answers in their books! And all that diligence paid off, as we won! Go us!

image

Sara our consultant had an awesome witches hat on. I loved it so much I asked to borrow it – and she let me keep it. I’m going to two Halloween parties this weekend and had nothing to wear so this’ll come in very handy! Thank you Sara. As requested here is a pic, just for you!

image

Last night was also the nomination evening for Miss Slinky and Mr Sleek Award. Every year Slimming World run an in group award for those you think have embraced food optimising and made significant changes to their life because of it. I was nominated, along with several others in the group. It was so flattering to be nominated, but to be honest there isn’t one member who couldn’t have been. We have such a dedicated group and everyone deserves recognition for what they’ve overcome to reach the point where they decided to take the bull by the horns and, with SW’s help, change their lives. Everyone’s got their story and last night we were privileged enough to hear some of those. I was humbled time and again. So thank you. Everyone.

So looking forward, the coming week does actually pose a couple of challenges. Firstly I have the children’s Halloween party at my NCT buddy Kat’s house tomorrow. We had one for the children at ours in the first yerar of their lives, but didn’t bother last year. This year however we’re going have another crack at it. I’ve already made some chocolate pretzel pumpkins to take! I couldn’t even begin to syn them so I shan’t be having any (I’ll take some fruit for myself – had I thought about it more carefully I’d have made some actual pumpkin to take – but I got so swept up in the Pintrest of it all, you know how it goes!!)

image

Then I’ve got a Halloween themed fireworks party next door on Saturday. I’ve got a bit more time before that though, so I think I’ll go shopping on Saturday for a few bits to make some syn free, warming nibbles. So yeah not easy, but nothing I can’t come through smiling.

And I really want to be smiling next Wednesday, because you see I’ve set myself a sneaky little challenge. My good friend Helen is coming to visit next weekend. I haven’t seen her in nearly a year and she’s coming up for a proper girly weekend. We’re both massive Christmas fans, so I’ve got us tickets to the Spirit of Christmas Fair at Olympia. It’s going to be brilliant. But you see Helen’s one of my oldest friends, she’s known me since I was a teenager.

And I spent so long looking like this

74616_10150111027340616_3822064_n

I just want my oldest friends to replace the picture of me in their heads.

10734158_10153435522890616_7420620327884242949_n

So what I really want for this week is to reach my 6.5 stone award by next week. Its 3lb away but I really, really want to reach it in time for her visit. It’s a big ask, in a week with two parties, but I just really want her to be proud of me. What do you reckon Hels? Can I do it?

I’ll let you know.

Have a super, spooky week people

Mmmwwaaahahahaaha