The Monday Make: Prayer Pretzels and a Lenten Countdown Table Runner

Mondays can go in one of two directions, depending on how well planned out we are for starting the week.  To keep some consistency laid out for the beginning of each week, I’ve added The Monday Make as part of our routine to kick start the week of snacks off better.  I find when there are snacks made and available in the house for those in-between meal hours, everyone stays content (for the most part.)  And I always welcome suggestions so forward your own recipes and we’ll add them to our baking sessions and post them, making sure we give credit where it’s due.

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We like to reserve making pretzels for this time of year during Lent.  And I will be honest, they do seem like extra work for me to add into the middle of the day for lunch break, but a good exercise in the taking time to slow down that we’re trying to practice during this season.  In gathering a partner for the process you’ll find it’s an absolutely lovely way to slow down together, chatting and kneading the dough, chatting and rolling out the ropes, chatting and forming the pretzels, and then chatting and waiting for them to rise, bake, and serve out.  (And you can see in our slowing down we haven’t scheduled in a hair appointment for our boy yet.)

And for our table top we borrowed this idea from Ginny over at Small Things, who featured Sue at In the Loft, in order to share her great idea of a Lent countdown with a table runner, which is obviously more beautifully made than my ripped open pillow case version.  Hers is a two-sided table runner with the words Alleluia on the reverse side to use for your Shrove Tuesday celebrations, turning it over when you begin Ash Wednesday to hide the Alleluia until Resurrection Day.  It was featured as a give-away on Ginny’s site recently, and though I’d have loved to have entered the draw for it, it wasn’t offered to out of country residents since I know the shipping out of country can be rather a headache and a high cost to do such a thing.

So I set to figuring out how to make our own.  And, of course, hubby knew this would involve him in many ways, shapes, and forms.  He’s the resident artist here and called on often (probably too often to his liking and busy schedule) to come to our aid for the artistry needed in so many projects mama sets her heart on.   He set to painting the stepping stone rocks beginning at Ash Wednesday, featuring the Sunday stones in yellow, and specially marking the Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Resurrection Day.

The idea is to have a candle (mine is a led light candle) moving along the stones for each day.  We stuck tea stained (though not tea stained for this pic) toothpicks in our candle holder as part of the crown of thorns, taking one out each day as we approach Resurrection Day, with the idea of decorating the candle holder in greenery for the day of resurrection.  So far, I haven’t found the perfect place to leave this table runner since we change out our table cloth so often (due to our half finished table underneath) but we’re working on the best place to leave this, since picking off toothpicks each time we change up the cloth can be aggravating.  But we’re slowing down, right? So, one toothpick at a time is yet another opportunity to remember.

Soft Prayer Pretzels (from Martha Zimmerman’s Celebrating the Christian Year):

3 C flour

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp yeast (or one pkg)

1 C water

1 Tbsp margarine

1 egg white

1 Tbsp water

coarse salt

Baking instructions:

Mix one C flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast.  Heat water and margarine to lukewarm (not too hot or it will kill the yeast).  Gradually add to dry ingredients beating 2 mins at medium speed.  Add 1/2 C flour.  Beat hight speed 2 mins.  Stir in the rest of the flour to make a soft dough.  Knead about 5 mins on floured surface or with a bread hook on mixer.  Place in an oiled bowl and oil the top of the dough.  Cover.  Let rise in a warm place 30-40 mins.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces.  Roll each into 20-inch rope.  Form into pretzel shape.  Place on greased baking sheet.  Cover. Let it rest 5-10 mins.  Beat egg white.  Brush over pretzels.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake 375 F for 15 mins or until done.

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