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HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • The view off the kitchen, out onto our patio, of the fire ring and the canary yellow-hued leaves of the ginkgo beyond. We wait for that tree to turn color and gently drop its leaves all year. A sudden, early frost last October caused all of the leaves to drop overnight, while still green. This year, we got the golden ticket. Proof positive that some things truly are worth the wait. Happy All Souls Eve!
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  • Hung out in a favorite tree today with my favorite little guy.
  • I'm sure gonna miss this view when the leaves are all gone! Forecast calls for snow tomorrow evening, on Halloween night. What the what?!
  • For today's #tbt, I'm sharing an image of the altar @shelterprotectsyou and @sheltercollective built on our property for their wedding here last month. Such a beautiful, memorable day that was, filling our little forested cove with happy juju for weeks. Love watching the scene shift as the foliage changes.
  • Felt a shift in the air today, this afternoon in particular. The veil is getting thin. You feeling it, too?
  • SO much love for @forvillagers and her heavenly homesteading/hearth-tending supply store in West Asheville. Stopped in today for a bag of organic chicken feed and to see what's new in the shop. I'll be teaching a
  • The hills are alive. Looking Glass Rock in the distance, as seen today from the #blueridgeparkway .
  • My favorite part of all of these photo shoots for my upcoming  picnic book has been eating the props! Enjoyed this pumpkin whoopie pie today on an impromptu picnic with @glennbenglish and Huxley on the #blueridgeparkway.
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Pretzel Prowess

What goes better with an ice cold hard cider or pumpkin ale than soft pretzels? Nothing, that’s what, aside from perhaps a forest clad in a dazzling array of fall foliage. Check, on both fronts. 
My sister, Devan, came to visit last week and brought her pretzel-making prowess with her. Truth be told, she’d never made soft pretzels before, or any pretzels for that matter, but she had them on the brain, I had a recipe I’d been wanting to try out, and the weather and our sister-to-sister skills told us that now was the time. We used Karen Solomon‘s recipe for soft pretzels from her amazing book Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It (its predecessor, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It shouldn’t be missed, either-I seriously love her books, and any of you DIY food fiends out there will adore them, too). 
Devan did most of the work, while I looked after Huxley. For the most part, it seemed the greatest challenge lay in kneading the dough. You’ve got to keep at it for 7-10 minutes, beating it into pliant, smooth submission in order to truly activate the gluten. After that, the dough is allowed to rest and rise for an hour, fashioned into a rope-like circle, and then cut out into 12 equal lengths. Those chunks are then rolled into small ropes, knotted into pretzels, and then plunged for 30 seconds into a boiling bath of 6 cups of water and 1/2 cup baking soda. Next, the pretzels are glazed with an egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water, sprinkled with coarse salt and baked for 30-35 minutes. 
Then you must wait. Waiting, you see, is key, as it allows the pretzels to achieve their best possible texture for consumption. Admittedly, this was the most challenging part of the entire process for me, as I was in pretzel-chomping mode. It was worth the wait, though. Mad props to Devan for turning out truly stellar pretzels and for making our visit one filled with laughter, comfort, and doughy goodness. 
Give these pretzels a whirl. We tried ours with a variety of mustards, both local and otherwise. You won’t be disappointed and your autumn will be that much better with a soft, homemade pretzel in hand. I guarantee it. 
*You can view more of our sisterly fun here, including the apple orchard we visited on Friday for Huxley’s 1st birthday and an incredible lake-side walk and picnic we took on Sunday. 

6 Responses to Pretzel Prowess

  • Amber says:

    I made pretzels once on a New Years' Eve….started them way too late at night. I had missed a section of the “wait” time and miscalculated how late I'd need to stay up to actually cook and eat my tender, beautiful doughy pretzels! but hey, why not 3am snacks? *lol*

    Thanks for the reminder, I'll have to try them again, and this time I'll start in the morning.

  • Erica says:

    These look amazing!!

  • These are the most perfect-looking pretzels I've ever seen. I can just imagine tearing off the nubs (best part!) to dip in warm spicy mustard…

    Super Bowl party snack alert!!

  • Erin says:

    These look absolutely delicious! I think they'd be perfect with a nice warm bowl of soup. Yum!

  • Indio says:

    Wow.. homemade pretzels that look fluffy, doughy and delicious. I like them New York style with lots of spicy mustard.

  • DrewsEm says:

    I LOVE this cookbook. After seeing this pretzel recipe I went straight to the library and picked the book up. Now I gotta buy it. The english muffin recipe is YUMMO!