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Homemade Pretzels

I haven't made homemade pretzels since we were in Alabama and I had forgotten how easy they are if not a little time consuming. I made these last week for Oscar night. They keep a long time in an airtight container. 1   (.25 ounce) package   active dry yeast 1 tablespoons   brown sugar 1  teaspoons   salt 1 ½   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 3   cups   all-purpose flour 1   cup   bread flour 2   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 2   tablespoons   baking soda 1-2   tablespoons   butter, melted 2   tablespoons  kosher salt Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Place the yeast, brown sugar and salt in the 1.5 cups of warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in the flour. Knead for about 7-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let it rise for an hour (I place mine in the oven with the light on). Combine the two cups of warm water with the baking soda in a square shallow pan. After the dough has risen, cut it into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each section into a

Home again!

We just got home yesterday from a week at Seacrest Beach in Florida. We go to Florida every October - this year was extra special because it was our 25th anniversary. It was a nice, relaxing week. The weather was nice - only one day of rain (we went shopping that day) and much warmer than last year. In fact, they were having somewhat of a heatwave. One day there was a record high of 86, a little too hot for us, but that only happened a few days.

We didn't do much of anything except lay in the sun, read, eat and walk the beach. I read five books including the latest from my favorite writer Ruth Rendell ("The Monster In The Box") and the second book from Steig Larsson, "The Girl Who Played With Fire", both great books! The best thing was NOT listening to the news - I read somewhere to do that and what a stress reliever that is. I'm not a news junkie anyway but just not having to listen to people whine and grip about Obama, kids killing other kids, etc. I didn't even miss my Perez Hilton kick (Chastity Bono became a man!!??). It was all quite a relief (now I know why I love gardening so much!).

I'm posting just a few photos and will hopefully add more later if anyone is interested.

A new computer is on the way (what do you know about Windows 7??!!)! Hopefully the transition will be an easy one and I can catch up on my blog reading soon. Today I have tons of leaves to blow and limbs to pick up. We apparently had some storms and rain while we were away.

I'm not an early morning person but I was up one time to capture the sunrise. Most of the mornings were cloudy and it would clear up around 11.

The view from our house -

I don't know what this little flower was that growing next to the dunes. It reminded me of purslane.

And this grows everywhere -

The clouds begin to clear -

Constant companions when walking the beach -

More to come!


  1. Stunning photos!!! I feel relaxed just having seen them. How lucky you were to be there!

    Happy Anniversary! What a great accomplishment in this day and age.

  2. Hi Phillip! You certainly had a great little vacation. The pictures are so wonderful, they make me want to be there right now. I love Florida. Great, majestic images! Thank you!

  3. Wow, absolutely stunning photos, and not at all how I picture Florida (which is a good thing!). Also, congrats on your 25th anniversary. That's so wonderful; I am always in awe (and envy!) of couples who can manage to grow together, not apart, over the years.

  4. Wow 25 years together! Congrats you deserve a nice vacation to celebrate such an anniversary. Heck I think you should celebrate all year long. :)

    These photos are great. My minds eye saw snow on those beaches what with the sand looking so white. I realize there is no snow there but the colors fooled my minds eye.

    Aren't you glad you were up at least one morning to see such a sight.? If you don't see them all the time it does make it extra special.

  5. Congratulations on your anniversary.

    Beautiful photos.

    I was in Miami back in 2002. Karen and I stayed on South Beach and marveled at all the 'tropical deco' architecture.

  6. Thanks everybody! Lisa, the beaches in the panhandle area of FL are known for their "sugar-white" beaches.

  7. Congratulations to both of you!!! In case you don't "recognize" me I'll let you know that this is Ann (Stumpe) wife to Paul's cousin Lawrence and also fellow birdwatcher! I discovered your blog recently on Shoalanda Speaks and I'm hooked!! I am so enjoying it, especially the beautiful photographs.

  8. What a beautiful beach. The sand is so white. That is one tough little flower, I'd like to grow it.

    Congratulations on 25 years. That deserves a celebration.

  9. I hope you do have time to post some more photos, particularly if they are as nice as those you have already shown.

    Congratulations on 25 years. We were to celebrate 18 years last Monday, but swine flu had other plans. We will make up for it when we are both well.

  10. Congratulations on 25 years! What beautiful pictures of the beach. It really is good to get away from everything once in awhile.

  11. Stunning photos! It sounds like you have some wonderful time away.

    I love fall trips to the ocean. This is the first autumn in several years that we haven't gone and taken our gardening greyhound (who loves to go coastal).


  12. Hello Phillip, you have so many beautiful images of flowers and trees, your pictures are perfect and so delicate and sweet. I wish I could take photos of my beloved garden as you do. I´m from Chile, southamerica and enjoy gardening in my piece of land in the Los Andes mountains. Would like you to visit me, if you have the time.
    Muchos cariños
    María Cecilia

  13. I love all the photos you shared. Sounds like a wonderful week. No news while on vacation, hmm? Well I'll have to take that advice next time. Happy anniversary!

  14. Hi Philip~~ This looks like a fabulous way to spend a vacation and even more so with it being your anniversary. I like Cameron's comment "going coastal." Congrats.
    I love the sunrise. I live on the west coast so it's sunSETS for us. And the flowers add a nice touch, don't they?

  15. I was wondering where you were! ;-) Looks like a fantastic trip and your photos are stunning!

  16. Hello Maria and Ann, welcome! Les, I hope you get better soon!

  17. And one more, happy anniversary!
    Your catching up to us!

  18. Wonderful ocean scenes... your sunrises look surreal. Lovely white sand... reminds me of beaches I visited as a child... I believe it was Destin... grassy dunes ... lovely... Happy 25th!! Carol

  19. I think the yellow dune flower that reminds you of purslane is an Oenothera of some type. It's really pretty.


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