Salted Pretzel Cowboy Cookies

Pretzels, m&m’s, oatmeal, cinnamon and coconut is a combination I was happy to dive face first in. Thanks to Half Baked Harvest’s recipe as the baseline, with a few twists of my own, these little nuggets of love hit the sweet and salty spot.

Other then my pretzel presentation that is no-where near Tieghan’s masterpiece, I’d say these turned out quite perfect.


Salted Pretzel Cowboy Cookies

  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temp.
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup m&m’s (can just add more chocolate chips if you desire)
  • 1 cup pretzels, crushed


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until combined. Beat in the eggs then add the vanilla, beating until creamy. Add the flour, cinnamon (if using), baking soda, and salt. Fold in the oats, coconut, chocolate chips, and m&m’s.
  3. Use a cookie scoop, or roll the dough into rounded 2 tablespoon size balls and place 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Push a few crushed pretzel pieces into each dough ball then slightly flatten the dough ball down with the palm of your hand.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake for 9 minutes. (Note: the OG recipe has you bake the cookies for 5 minutes, remove from oven, tap pan on counter to flatten down, return to oven to bake an additional 4 minutes).
  5. Eat warm (definitely highly recommended) or let cool and store in an airtight container. 


Welcoming the New Gym Goers

This time of year brings a flurry of activity to the gym. In the middle of that flurry are the newbies, the returning and the steadfast constants.

January brings a natural surge of motivation to feel good, look good and get back into healthy habits. Naturally, many turn to the gym. And many of those folks are either brand new to the scene, or returning after a long hiatus.

For the population of folks who fall into the “steadfast constant” category, be mindful of those around you. Be welcoming, offer assistance, acknowledge with a smile or a nod when you make that dreadful eye contact during a rep. Because, while we may find the gym to be a comfortable environment, there may be some folks who are terrified, feel out of place, but desperately want and need the endorphins and camaraderie the gym can provide.

If you belong to a group exercise class or strength and conditioning gym that provides classes in cohorts, welcome them into your circle. Offer to partner. Provide them a tip on what equipment to pick and suggested weight range.

If you see someone with a perplexed look while standing next at a piece of equipment, stop and say “That machine can be tricky… it helps me if I do (insert XYZ)”. Even though the equipment may be second nature to you, offering up your expertise by buffering it with a comment that brings all parties to equal ground could be the one comment that releases the nervous tension and keeps that new member from throwing in the towel. Getting to the gym could have been their biggest win of their day. Help make them feel comfortable enough to return.

It’s been two years since I offered a steady schedule of multiple group exercise classes. Two years and I still talk to the majority of those individuals. I miss them terribly and often miss the hustle and bustle of teaching a full load of classes, but those memories I cherish and will keep with me forever.

When thinking about your gym and the community within you will also most likely see a family. Open your arms to the new guys.

Be that person that keeps them coming.

Fail Forward

You know those moments when you just feel like you don’t have it together? A failed expectation turns into another and before you know it you find yourself in a spiral of self-doubt and self-criticism?

Reflecting back on the last 12 months I see professional wins, areas of growth, and opportunities for improvement. I think we all can. Going into 2020, many of us wrote goals for our institution, departments, and for ourselves. Then March 2020 hit us like a freight train, and we were forced to pivot in monumental ways that the majority of us had never been trained for. Each individual, regardless of profession and career, was challenged.

Pandemic challenges aside, we all need to have reality checks with ourselves from time to time. A moment to say,

“Hey, girl. You’ve got this”

It’s easy to get caught up in a glass half empty state. Like the times when you feel you’re losing more than winning? Losing a little control and the ability to succeed? When in reality, what you’ve actually lost is the ability to see the situation from a different lens.

I’ve fallen in that trap several times this last year. I found a note in my phone from January 2020 reminding me that I am capable. I had lost focus of the professional wins and the supporting team surrounding me. I had allowed myself to get lost in the self-imposed losses and the notion that I had to prove myself at every moment, when in reality, I really only had myself to prove.

It’s natural to fall in a trap of uncertainly and question. And it’s imperative that we all give ourselves a moment of pause for reflection and a reality check.

Beautiful girl, you don’t need to prove anything or anyone. Do your job and do it to the best of your ability. And the things that don’t go as you wanted or planned? Well then, fail forward. You’ve got this.

J. Pirtle, January 2020

And you, dear reader? You’ve also got this.

Lean into the people you trust. Let go of the idea that you need to have control and a hand in everything. It’s not possible. There are too many moving pieces. Handle people, projects, and situations with grace, a smile and an inquisitive mind.

Actions speak louder than words. That trying to “prove your worth” thing isn’t becoming of you. The relationships built, the opportunities provided, and the product of the work speak loudest.

Fail Forward.

Find Your Place.

Find Your People.

Bring Them With.

New Year Declutter

The week between Christmas and New Years has always been a time to declutter my physical surroundings. A time to get rid of the old, worn out, expired, or no longer worn and either trash it or donate it. Fresh and clutter free surroundings to bring in the New Year

The method to my decluttering madness is to just go all in. The full body, no looking back, see and feel every square inch kinda madness. I take everything out, pile it up, and then put all the pieces that are functioning and still used back in it’s place, while leaving out the unwanted and worn out. The unwanted piles then get sorted into trash or donate categories.

If the idea of decluttering is overwhelming to you, start small. Maybe tackle one room or one cabinet at a time, or choose an area each day for a few days. Choose what is most manageable for you.

A few areas to get you started.

1. Kitchen cabinets. Sort out the mismatched lids, worn out pots and pans, appliances that haven’t been used in a year and either donate or trash them.

2. Linen closet/medicine cabinet. Recycle the old towels into shop rags. Toss out the expired medications. Half empty bottles of shampoo/conditioner? Either combine them or put them into travel size containers for all those cancelled 2020 trips we need to make up.

3. Clothing closets. Girl, you know you haven’t worn most of that stuff in years. And those jeans that you keep around as “goals?” Toss. Them. Out. We are decluttering more then just our physical space. Declutter that mental space too and let it go. That is something deeper we need to tackle here another day, ok? For now, donate those two-size too small jeans. They’re out of style anyway.

Decluttering your living space leaves you feeling refreshed and accomplished before the New Year. It’s a great way to also start decluttering some of those tucked away mental spaces too. And what a great way to bring a sense of fulfillment and purpose by donating all the gently used goods you no longer need to someone who could really use them?

Go! Declutter some of those living spaces.