Sweet or Salty Pretzel Bites

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Dough

1 ½ cups warm water

1 Tbl organic sugar

2 tsp active dry yeast or 1 package

1 ½ tsp salt

3 Tbl coconut oil

3 ½ -4 cups all purpose flour

 

Bath

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5 cups water

3 Tbl baking soda

 

Sweet Coating: mix

¼ cup sugar or coconut sugar

2 ½ tsp Vietnamese cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

 

Salty Coating

Coarse sea salt

In a large bowl add the warm water and add sugar and mix until dissolved. Add yeast, cover and let sit for 10 min to activate yeast.  Once the yeast is foamy add salt and coconut oil then slowly mix in flour. Knead the dough on a clean floured surface 3-5 min and shape into a ball. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover and set in a warm place to rise for 15 min.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 450. Heat the water for the baking soda bath in a large soup pot. Once the dough has risen cut it into 8 triangles like a pizza. Roll each triangle into an 18” long rope and cut 1-2” bites. When the water boils add the baking soda and stir. Add about 20 dough bites to the bath at a time and let soak for 30 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on parchment paper. Don’t overcrowd. Bake at 450 for 10-12 min until tops are nice and brown.

Brush bites with coconut oil once they have cooled and toss into sweet coating. Or sprinkle with salt.

Circles & Cycles

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As I've gotten older I've come to understand the saying " the weeks go by slowly and the years go by quickly." (at least it goes something like that) When I think of the scope of what I try to accomplish in a week it is often times daunting but when I look back at a year and what has already been done, I'm sometimes quite amazed. I try not to get wrapped up in making New Year's Resolutions because I'm already a recovering list maker and I don't need any more self-pressuring as a self proclaimed type A. Isn't it enough that it's a NEW year? Can't we just enjoy the 'shine' of the 'new' for a while?  I read this quote on Instagram a few days ago:

You weren't born to just pay bills and die.

I think we've all felt this at one time or another. Despite living a life I always dreamed of, doing what I love everyday, it's still easy to get wrapped up in the cycle of things sometimes. Just remembering to BE present, to breathe, to smile and to laugh can make some of the not so fun, mundane chores more bearable. The Love of My Life, Matthew Dean, is a constant reminder for me of all the sweetness that life has to offer and he has been a spotlight on the present and a beacon for the future with endless smiles, laughter and love. Just when I thought life couldn't get any sweeter with him as a partner, he surprised me on Christmas morning by asking me to marry him. It was an overwhelming moment and weeks later I'm still walking on clouds.

So, just like that, my perspective on what 2016 would bring, shifted as I enter a new cycle in my personal life. Happiness breeds inspiration for me, and I'm anxious to spend as much time working in my studio as possible with a flood of new ideas and excitement to continue to create and sell handmade functional pottery. My food obsession has not waned and while I've shifted to a 90% gluten free diet in the past year or so, my love of bread is still in there and lately it's been fun making bagels!  So I've shared the bagel recipe below and I hope you'll let me know if you make them, or let me know any other recipes you'd like to see and I'll share in future posts. I can feel winter soup is where I'll be concentrating for a while.........so stay tuned.

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Vegan Bagels

Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (or one packet)

1 2/3 cups warm water

4 1/2 cups bread flour (I use Bob's Redmill Artisan Bread Flour)

1 Tbl sugar

1 Tbl barley malt syrup

2 teaspoons salt

approx 3 quarts water with 2 Tbl sugar added to it in a large pot for boiling

Toppings of choice: I used dried minced garlic and garlic powder, and a raw sugar and vietnamese cinnamon, but you can use any seeds etc as you like.

Instructions

Start by mixing the yeast and water and set aside.

In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, barley malt syrup and salt and add in your yeast mixture, mix well with a spoon until a dough forms and then if the bowl is large enough knead it for up to 15min until the dough comes together in a smooth stretchy ball or turn it out onto a lightly floured board for kneading. Set dough aside and cover to rest for up to 45 min.

Preheat your oven to 425 and get the sugar water mixture to a boil then simmer. Knead dough one last time for approx 2min and then cut into approx 12 pieces. Use your hands to gently shape into round balls, use your thumb to press a hole through the center of each ball and set it carefully into the hot water for 30 seconds, flip them over and remove after another 30 seconds. Place boiled bagels on a rack to drip dry and sprinkle with toppings of choice.

Once your bagels have been boiled and topped, place them on a nonstick baking pan and bake for 15min or until golden brown. Remove and cool before serving.

and then......try not to eat them all at once!

The Love Affair

I never studied pottery formally, my degree is not in art or ceramics. I never planned on being a working artist……I just simply fell in love.. The only other thing that has ever held my attention for as long, is baking and the satisfaction I find in engaging in both activities is very similar, I get to share the finished product with others.

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Baking & Pottery Ingredients:

Equal Parts Trial and error

1 large dose              Nonattachment

Double dose               Practice & Persistence

Constant                     Self motivation

Endless                       Creativity and passion

soupmugs This week it was yarn bowls, tumblers and gluten free vegan apple cranberry muffins (recipe is below!). My annual pottery sale is just a few short weeks away and I’m filled with anticipation to unpack the over 500 pieces of pottery I’ve created over the past few months. Soon it will be time to share these creations and to send them to new homes. My love affair is not limited to the process of making pottery but extends to the physical objects as well. I love nothing more than drinking out of a handmade mug or eating out of a bowl while cupping it in the palm of one hand.

I’ve made a number of new items including yarn bowls, tumblers heart bowls and newly designed soup mugs. I’ve created a ‘feather collection’ and begun working with new glazes in patterns and design techniques. It feels like Christmas every time I unload a finished glaze kiln and I am constantly thinking about new ideas and things to work on in the future. I’ve recently launched an time goes on and I’ve got some other ideas up my sleeve that I can’t wait to tell you about!

online shop which will be undergoing some improvements as feather bowl On Friday November 20 I’ll welcome the public to my studio for a first ever Sale Preview Event (tickets are $8 space is limited). This behind the scenes event will include tours of my private workspace, pottery demos, light refreshments and I’ll unload two warm kilns of pottery that will be for sale that evening. The annual sale featuring over 500 pots will be set up for viewing that night but will be for sale Nov 21-22 only. If you’re local I hope to see you! If you’re too far away, stay tuned as I’ll be posting more pots for sale online after the sale.

It’s been almost eighteen years since I first sat down at a potters wheel and the love affair continues!

Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Cranberry Muffins

4 cups Bobs Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

3 tsp Xanthum Gum (adds a gluten like texture to the batter)

chip dip 1 tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

muffins finished 2 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups natural applesauce

2 egg replacer eggs or 2 flax eggs

½ Cup Maple Syrup

3 small apples peeled, cored, and diced

1 ¼ cups cranberries (diced in a food processor)

salted caramel sugar (optional for sprinkling over muffins before baking)

Mix all dry ingredients, mix in all wet ingredients. Drop into muffin tins and Bake at 350 for 15-20 min.

Resolution to be Resilient

feathers The dictionary defines the word resilient as the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity, or the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. My yoga practice keeps my body resilient so that I can continue in my love of making pottery. Making pottery keeps my mind resilient through the constant creative process and the medium of clay (before it’s been fired that is!) is resilient by definition. The spark of my creative process has been vibrant this past month. I’ve squeezed every bit of ‘making’ time out of my days at the studio and I’ve produced hundreds of pots in preparation for my annual November sale. Sometimes it feels good to produce work in the frenzy of an approaching deadline. The Summer close has swung the door open for Autumn and I can suddenly feel the inner fire requires stoking.

My palate is begging for hot tea, soup, roasted veggies and warm muffins! (YES a muffin recipe follows!) It’s time to think about replacing summer shorts and tank tops with jeans and hoodies and don’t get me wrong, “ I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!” but it’s important to acknowledge the transition not only in the external surroundings but our internal bodies are also in preparation for what’s coming and we need to honor that so we can sustain and thrive through the cooler seasons. Of course that’s easier said than done, but hell, at least if I know it I can give it my best-shot right?

glazing So what’s so great about Autumn? Everything! The colors, the seasonal veggies, the apple harvests and cider, chilly sweater weather, cozy socks, walks in the woods, I could go on. From a potters perspective the ability to run a kiln and not suffer heat exhaustion is definitely a benefit! The flipside of having had a ton of ‘making’ time in my studio means that I’ve had a ton of work to decorate, glaze and fire. This has never been my favorite part of the pottery making process. Glazing is fraught with constant decisions that can mean the difference between making work I’m proud of and work I feel is mediocre at best. (Yes, I hold high expectations for myself.) I’m finally coming out of a two week glazing streak and my inner creative wheels are churning with new ideas for pots AND surface designs!

I’m not only excited to make new work but I’m also participating in the first event outside my studio that I’ve done in years. A local winery is holding a Harvest Festival this coming weekend and I’ll be debuting some of my latest pots in the craft tent. Feedback is integral for makers and I’m dying to hear and see how people respond to my teapotwork. It’s one thing when you’ve made a batch of muffins that turns out somewhat bland or lacking but it’s another thing when you’ve poured your heart and passion into making work for months! Making pottery is not a choice for me but is more a ‘need’ to create and produce beautiful objects for people to use in their everyday lives that might sprinkle a little ‘joy’ into the sometimes mundane. I’d love to hear what YOU have to say in the comments section below! Give it to me straight!

Lyndsay’s Fall Harvest Vegan Gluten Free Muffins

4 cups oat flour*

1/2 cup almond meal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon

½ tps ground cloves

¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1/2 cup hazelnut meal

1 can pumpkin 15oz

1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup apple cider

whisk all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix well. Heap muffin tins and bake at 350 for 25-30min.