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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

Apples & Peaches

Our forlorn apple tree still stands despite my constant plans for removing it. Since the trunk of it is the size of a small house, taking it out is something to think about. And heaven forbid hiring someone to trample over my plants. So it remains. Every year, in the dead of winter, I cut it back although several of the limbs are difficult to reach and some always remain. This year, I cut more than I usually do and only two or three large branches still stood, reaching straight up into the sky. 

Judging from the apples this year, maybe I'm doing something right -

However, it is hard to find a good apple unless it is picked from the tree (hard to reach). The ones on the ground always have bad spots on them. We've never treated the tree for disease or insects and the thought of doing that doesn't appeal to me. 

I usually make at least one pie or cake every year from the unblemished apples I am able to retrieve. 

My go-to apple recipe is the French Apple Tart from Ina Garten. I make it at least twice a year. I form it differently from her though and instead of making it flat, I fold up the edges like a galette.

A friend brought us some peaches and again, I turned to Ina for a recipe and tried this Peach Cake which turned out nicely.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Hopefully, the apple tree's performance this year has earned it at least another year's reprieve ;) I inherited 2 persimmon trees which have never done much until this year - it's too bad that neither my husband nor I care for persimmons. Most will go to friends, neighbors and the critters.

  2. Yummy! Ina Garten's recipes are deee-lish!

  3. Peach cake! I’ve longed for a peach pie all summer, but just couldn’t find nice peaches. Phooey!

  4. Oh yum! The apple tarts looks amazing. My mother in law has apple trees and this year for some reason I am into making homemade applesauce. Thank you for sharing!


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