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Today is April 26, 2021

Pretzel Day

Chewy Pretzel Buns

For the dough:

1 cup warm water (110-115°F)

1 package (2¼ tsp, ¼oz, 7g) RED STAR Active Dry Yeast

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

2¾ cups bread flour

1½ tsp sea salt

For the pretzel bath:

4 quarts water

¼ cup baking soda

For the topping:

1 large egg

1 Tbsp water

Coarse sea salt, enough to sprinkle over 8 rolls

  1. Whisk together the 1 cup of water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to proof for 6 minutes.

  1. While the yeast is proofing, whisk/sift together the flour and 1½ tsp sea salt.

  1. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together and then turn the speed up to medium-low and mix for 3 minutes. Turn the speed up to medium and mix for another 2 minutes.

  1. Form the dough into a tight ball and place into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to double in size, approximately 40 minutes. Remove the towel and punch down the dough.

  1. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Using a kitchen scale, divide the dough into eight 3-ounce balls (one will be slightly under 3 ounces). If you don’t have a scale, divide dough in 8 equal parts. Roll each ball tightly and pinch the bottoms. Place the balls pinched side down on the baking sheet, cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bring the 4 quarts of water to a boil with the baking soda. In batches, cook the rolls for 30 seconds per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a clean, greased baking sheet (do not use parchment paper or the rolls will stick).

  1. Whisk together the egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash on top of each roll and sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt.

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice an X in the top of each roll (optional).

  1. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Recipe created by Savory Simple.

For more recipes visit https://redstaryeast.com/.

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Playground Safety Week

Playgrounds provide places for children to run, laugh, play, and share experiences with their friends. Playgrounds also are instrumental in fostering social connections among children and providing places to exercise.

Although playgrounds are much safer than they used to be, that doesn’t mean children cannot get injured when playing at modern playgrounds. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says playground-related traumatic brain injuries are still a major threat, and emergency departments treat more than 20,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground injuries each year. Broken bones, abrasions and even strangulation can occur on playground structures. But many injuries can be prevented by following established safety guidelines.

Adult supervision

The childhood safety resource Kids Health notes that adult supervision is a key component of preventing playground injuries. Adults can ensure that kids do not engage in unsafe behavior when using playground equipment. Adults also can help kids gauge distances on equipment, help them get up and down from climbing structures, and help make sure that older kids do not test limits too much. Simply having parents or other caregivers nearby can tame behavior.

Safety guidelines

Advocating for children’s safety on playgrounds means checking to see if equipment is deemed safe by various watchdog organizations. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is one of these groups. Over the last 35 years, innovations in technology have led to new playground equipment and surfacing requirements. Some safety guidelines include proper signage and labeling; sight lines that enable adults to keep track of children throughout the playground; and safe surface materials, which include engineered wood fiber, pea gravel, sand, shredded rubber mulch, wood chips, and organic mulch.

Maintenance

Proper maintenance can keep equipment in safe working order. Tripping hazards, such as rocks or tree stumps, should be removed from the area. Metal or wooden swing seats should be replaced with soft seats. Sharp edges should be made smooth, and all platforms should be in good repair with working guardrails. Hardware should be checked and never protrude. The cushioned surface should extend at least 6 feet beyond the equipment. Additional coverage may be needed, depending on how high a slide is or how long a swing is. Materials should be replaced if they are worn out.

Age-appropriate

Children should use only the equipment recommended for their age groups and ability levels. The CPSC says that preschool-aged children should only use ladders that are less than or equal to 60 inches high. Older children can use arch climbers or chain or cable walks. Age guidelines should be clearly posted on the equipment to help adults ensure their kids play on equipment that is right for their ages.

Enjoying fresh air and fun is part of visiting the playground. But parents should always emphasize safety when their youngsters are playing.

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Audubon Day

ardens add visual appeal to a yard, but gardens also can appeal to individuals’ senses of smell, taste, touch, and sound. Gardeners who want to create gardens that appeal to various senses can do so in the following ways.

Sight

Aesthetic appeal is one of the most sought-after benefits of gardening. However, many homeowners put in so much effort planting for one particular season that they may not give thought to ensuring the garden looks vibrant no matter the time of year.

Gardeners can research planting zones to find plants that will blossom at different times of the year so they can enjoy impressive, aesthetically appealing gardens year-round. Spring bulbs can bloom early on, while annual and perennial summer favorites will thrive under the summer sun. Beautyberry and caryopteris will fill out in the autumn, while holly or mahonia can look lovely in the winter.

Smell

Gardeners can dot their landscapes with aromatic trees, shrubs and flowers that will make stepping out into the garden that much more special. Some of the more fragrant plants include gardenia, dianthus, calendula, lavender, and jasmine. Shrubs such as fragrant pineapple broom, Anne Russell viburnum and Christmas box can add fragrance as well.

Sound

The lively sounds of the garden are created by the wildlife that come to pollinate and enjoy the environment gardeners have created. By choosing indigenous plants, gardeners can be sure that insects and small critters will seek refuge within the foliage.

Songbirds also will add character to a yard. The Audubon Society suggests including a water source and a songbird border of shrubs along your property’s edge. Provide food sources and make sure they are located a fair distance from the main action of the yard so as not to scare off birds. Wait for musical chickadees, goldfinches, orioles, and cardinals to arrive and enjoy the accommodations.

Taste

Gardeners can expand their gardens to include fruit-bearing trees and rows of vegetables. Produce can be harvested from early spring through late fall depending on the crops planted.

Touch

Apart from including trees and shrubs of various textures in the garden, look for other ways to stimulate a tactile response. Water features add relaxing sound and beauty. Stones, moss, mulch, and other accents have varied textures that can stimulate the sense of touch in various ways. Don’t forget to include a sitting area so that you can immerse yourself fully in the garden.

Go beyond visual appeal when designing a garden. When gardeners tap into all five senses, they can enjoy their landscapes even more than they already do.