This has been a long week for me, and I am just glad that it’s finally Friday!  I miraculously got up when my alarm went off yesterday morning to go downtown.  I met my co-worker before I normally even wake up!  I left the house and suddenly realized I didn’t fix anything for my breakfast!  So, it was good old McD’s!

A fuzzy picture of a sausage McMuffin with egg - I ate 3/4 of it

We took the train downtown and it brought back so many memories.  When we moved out to the “sticks” my commute downtown turned from about 15-20 to almost two hours one way! I had to park my car at the train station, take an hour train, then either walk the 1.5 miles to my office, or take the water taxi to Michigan Avenue, and then walk six blocks.  So you can imagine why I love the job I have now – my commute is now about 11 minutes! Do you have a long commute?

My co-worked picked a restaurant after our seminar.

It was pretty good food!  Although I did think my entree was  a bit bland but luckily I used plenty of this red sauce!

We ordered mini veggie egg rolls as an appetizer

We contemplated getting the crab rangoon, but changed our mind.  That is, until we saw our table next to use order them – we regretted our decision almost immediately!

And they also had pickled jalapenos!!

We had plenty of time before catching our train and decided to walk to the train station.  We did make a stop at The State of Illinois Building – this sculpture in front is called “Monument with Standing Beast.”

It’s a really cool building on the inside – and probably one of the best food courts in Chicago if I do say so myself.  Not that I ever ate fast food back in the day, right?!

We stopped in a candy shop to pick up candy for the office.  I had to laugh over this candy bar!

The best part about yesterday was that since I started the say so early, I didn’t have to go back to the office!  So I decided to make my BSI entry!   Jenn Cuisine chose honey!  I got this idea from a couple people actually.  First, Beth made whole wheat bagels, which I haven’t made in ages.  Then on Tastespotting I saw Amy’s soft pretzels, and decided to make Honey Whole Wheat Pretzel Sticks – I did half with sliced pickled jalapeno and habanero cheese, and the other half spinach and garlic.

Jalapeno Whole-Wheat Pretzel Sticks Recipe (printer friendly version here)

Makes 16 servings (171 calories, 2.7 fat, 31.9 carbs, 1.2 fiber, 4.5 protein)



2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 tablespoons salt, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 large jalapeno pepper, ½ ounce habanero shredded cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine yeast, honey and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 5 to 6 minutes until mixture begins to foam.
  3. While yeast mixture is sitting, combine whole-wheat flour, all purpose flour and 2 teaspoons salt and whisk to combine.
  4. Add flour mixture and oil to yeast mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated enough and the dough begins to form. Switch to dough hook and mix on mow to medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until dough is smooth but still pliable.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl. Weigh dough and separate into 16 servings. Roll each piece into a 10 inch by 1 inch tube. Spray baking sheet with Pam. Twist each dough stick several times and arrange sticks on cookie sheet, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart. In a small bowl beat the egg with water and brush on dough.
  6. Press sliced jalapenos evenly among the sticks. Combine 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt with sesame seeds and sprinkle evenly. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a golden crust has formed but pretzels are still soft inside.
  7. Remove and cool completely.

I liked this picture – you can see my reflection in the measuring spoon as I was taking the picture!

I then weighed the dough and separated the dough into 16 pieces, which was about 2.25 ounces each.

I rolled each one out to 10 inches:

Shredded up my beloved Cabot habanero cheese:

Then sliced my jalapeno pickles:

I sprayed my cookie sheets with Pam and then put the egg wash on the pretzel sticks.

For the spinach and garlic ones, I just sprinkled with this:

They baked in exactly 18 minutes.  Slightly crunchy on the outside, but chewy on the inside!

For the second batch I ended up making small pretzels with a bit of sea salt.

Update:  I am submitting this to Dinner at Christina’s Friday Firsts!

This is definitely a keeper! 😀

Tony and I went out for dinner – my pics somehow got lost, but I get the same thing every time I go!

Aged Dashi Tofu! Slightly crunchy on the outside, silky smooth on the inside - and I spiced up the broth this time with wasabi - so good!

Alright, I have to get a move on, I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet! 😀  Have a great Friday all!