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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

More Winter Interest Plants

Beautyberry (Callicarpa)

As we hunker down and await whatever the Weather Gods send - freezing rain and snow coming later this afternoon - I'm taking stock of the remaining plants that bring some interest in the garden this time of year. I previously wrote about conifers and evergreen trees and shrubs. Here are a few more, some that are not evergreen at all, but offer drama in the form of structure and form.

Evergreen Clematis (Clematis armandii)

It got really cold last night - around 20 and today's high is only 21! I covered a few things - a eucalyptus that I planted late in the summer, the loquat tree and I brought the African Boxwood into the garage. Everything else will have to fend for itself. We were mainly concerned about our beloved hummingbirds. I brought in the feeders last night and got up earlier than usual to put them back out. Michael tried wrapping them in fabric so we will see how that works. 

Azara microphylla


'Foxtail' Rosemary

The retaining wall along the driveway with Strawberry Tree (Arbutus), Weeping Alaska Cedar, cotoneaster, creeping Rosemary 'Irene' and more.

Heathers ('Multi-Color' and 'Firefly')

Clematis 'Bill MacKenzie'

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


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