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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

Valentine's Day Roses

We are snowed in with almost a foot a snow (my unofficial measurement was 9 inches). I thought it would be over with today but no, there is a prediction of ice this afternoon. So far, we've been lucky and have not lost our power, unlike many people in Portland.

Since it is Valentine's Day and we did not plan in advance, we made our own cards (or I should Michael made them - just watching the videos on doing this gives me a headache but he is really good at it) -

 I am also having a splurge day and treating myself to sugar - brownies are in the oven!

To take our minds off the weather, here are some roses from last year.


Darcey Bussell

Radway Sunrise

Phyllis Bide

Dublin Bay


Lady of Shalott


Robin Hood






Climbing Pinkie

Marchesa Boccella

The Impressionist


Mary Rose

Olivia Rose

Happy Valentine's Day!


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. The cards are wonderful - and I'm sure the brownies will be too! You're making the best of the cold and snow this Valentine's Day. I loved the photos - I wish I had your touch with roses.

  2. Happy belated Valentine's Day! I love those sweet cards, and truly, the most intimate V-Days are the best for me. And your roses are spectacular. I needed a dose of lushness in this crazy winter -15F weather we are having.

  3. Love seeing all of these warm glowing photos. It does lift the spirits with the snow coming down a blizzard here. Cute heart cards. That Michael is so talented.

  4. A good thing to do in snow events: wake up and smell the (virtual) roses.
    I love those valentine cards... I'll be looking for it online (despite the fact that my origami past successes is limited at best).

  5. Well those photos put a smile on my face. Gorgeous! As are the origami cards.

  6. Beautiful Valentines and even more gorgeous roses! I especially love 'Eden'. My husband had the same idea about brownies as you did. When I woke up on Valentines Day, he brought me brownies in bed! That was a first. We ended up with about 1/4 inch snow and very frigid temps. Other parts of Alabama got much more.


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