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HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • Asheville area folks: Come on over to @forvillagers at 7 pm tonight to hear @gardenbetty talk about her new book,
  • When dinner is served al fresco on the patio, at sunset, in a watermelon bowl, then my heart smiles. || Egg noodles, NC shrimp and pea shoot-arugula-basil pesto topped with nasturtium leaves, sage flowers, and chive blossoms. Nearly summertime and the living is easy.
  • When your afternoon involves chilling inside the Asheville Salt Cave with 7 of your nearest and dearest and your collective 4 kiddos, and your night involves celebrating one of their birthday's with a fajita feast and @glennbenglish's phenomenal spring sangria (with watermelon and strawberries and honeysuckle blooms that I picked), then you know that today has been an extraordinarily good day.
  • Spicy pork dumplings from @ganshanstation, I love you. While everything I've tried here has been seriously stellar, @procain's dumpling situation is worth the visit alone. So, so good!
  • Here's what I did today: hopped in the car, drove about a mile over to Hominy Valley Organic Farm, and got down to strawberry-picking business. I filled a flat for $18 (at $3/pound). If you live in the area and are looking for delicious, organic, U-pick strawberries, come see Farmer Tom Monday-Friday after 2 pm. Tell him I sent ya! Now, on to jam, and Popsicles, and pie, and galette, and pickled strawberries, and more! ??????
  • Pretty much ANY time is a good time for pickles, especially now that I've added @foodinjars delicious Quick Pickled Strawberries to the mix. Sublime!
  • You're in my heart, you're in my soul.
  • A testament to the power of social media: saw @holedoughnuts post an image of their Buttermilk Cardamom Black Pepper donut this morning, ate lunch, and then made the 20 minute drive over to enjoy some in person with @glennbenglish and Huxley!  Completely worth it. So, so good!!!
  • It's not a significant thing, nothing major. Just a walk down the driveway to gather the mail. But when I do it with Huxley, and we stop to say
  • Hominy Creek, doing its spring thang. || View from our mailbox.
  • Attended my first ever handmade/homemade swap yesterday, at a friend's sweet home in Black Mountain. SO much goodness, all thoughtfully and lovingly made. Huxley came with me and ran around with the kiddos while the swap took place. I contributed these little jars of rosemary honey, which @glennbenglish artfully topped with straw-blown watercolorings. Such a great afternoon with like-minded friends and fellow mamas! Thank you so, so much for hosting, Amanda!!!
  • Saturdays are for French toast on the porch with @glennbenglish and Huxley Wild while rain showers wash over the cove. || Used @farmandsparrow's Heritage Corn Bread and @oldworldlevain's Double Raisin & Flax Bread to make cardamom French toast, served alongside butter, maple syrup, and Hominy Valley Organic Farm strawberries, all washed down with hibiscus iced tea (our warm weather cold beverage go-to).

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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Copycats





Superbaby!



I took a few shots this morning of Huxley in his spiffy threads gifted by my long-time high school buddy Shannon. The leg warmers, onesie, and plush toy were all made by Etsy artisans. How cool, right?

Ice, Ice Baby





It was 13 degrees in our forest cove this morning. With the windchill, according to NPR, it felt like it was a mere 3 degrees. This is weather not fit for man nor beast. Fortunately, we’re gathered ’round the wood stove in the kitchen, all 5 cats, 2 dogs, Hubs, babe, and myself, staying snug and cozy, drinking hot coffee, nibbling on fennel/orange/nut biscotti, and click-clacking away on our laptops.

Hope you’re toasty too, wherever you are. In fact, where are you? I’d love to know where in the world you folks come visit me from!

My Green Resolution

I’ve got a guest post up on Apartment Therapy‘s Re-Nest. Come find me over there as I discuss “My Green Resolution” for 2011.


*Image from the always fabulous Lynne Harty.

Mixing It Up





I have to admit, my honeymoon was just about as stellar as they come. Thanks to the incredible generosity of my in-laws, Hubs and I flew from Asheville to Paris on June 4th, 2007, where we stayed for 5 days in posh digs (with complimentary nougat-my favorite confection-and chocolate lollipops on our pillows every night!!!). After that, we jumped on a train to Monte Carlo, in the teensy principality of Monaco, where we set up shop in a hotel overlooking the harbor for four days (the yachts, folks, were completely off the hook!). Lastly, we set out for the third leg of our trip, traveling overnight by train to Rome, where we stayed for 3 days. It was glorious and romantic and indulgent in all the right ways that honeymoons should be.


One of the standouts of the trip for me, though, was something quite simple. While the Louvre was phenomenal, the casinos resplendent, and the Colosseum epic, one of my most abiding loves on the trip was of a cocktail had in our Paris hotel.

La Bar Chinois, found inside the Renaissance Paris Vendome, is a postage stamp-sized little thing of a bar, but a thing of beauty nonetheless. With exquisite chinoiserie-style wallpaper, handcrafted lacquered furniture, and the most intoxicating liquid incense (Pacifica’s Mediterranean Fig comes close to mirroring the fragrance), the place was beyond charming, yet in an especially exotic manner. We took our seats at the diminutive bar, where the chic, urbane, oh-so-Parisian bartender directed our attention towards Bar Chinois’ cocktail blends.Available in a remarkable number of permutations, the cocktail blends involve the drinker pulling three marked sticks from a tumbler of options. One stick selects an herb, one chooses a fruit juice, and the third designates the choice of liquor. The selections are all done randomly, so you don’t know if you’ll select basil, cranberry juice, and an herb-infused vodka, or mint, pineapple juice, and a spice-infused vodka.

While I can’t remember the exact incarnation of what Hubs and I selected, I do remember that it tasted heavenly. We were so inspired by the drink (and its fun creation) that several months later, we threw a “Mad Scientist” -themed Halloween party where we set up a bar and allowed our guest to create their own signature cocktail. You can see our offerings pictured above. For herb choices, we used basil, mint, and tarragon (all fresh). Fruit juices included pineapple, pomegranate, and coconut. For the liquor, two weeks prior to the soiree we infused vodka three different ways: black pepper & jalapeno, vanilla & raspberry, and cranberry & juniper.

I used craft sticks of similar colors to group herbs (green), fruit juice (yellow), and liquor (red). Guests selected one of each color and, after chopping the fresh herb, I added all the components to a cocktail shaker, shook hard, and strained off the concoction. Amazingly, not one creation turned out poorly. Our guests loved the game and we loved bringing a bit out the magic of our honeymoon stateside.

If you’re planning a New Year’s Eve bash, I invite you to steal this idea. While you might not have enough time to infuse liquor yourself, you could simply purchase three different infused vodka flavors from the liquor store. I’m always a fan of mixing things up in life and this slice of Parisian fun, courtesy of La Bar Chinois, takes mixed drinks to a whole other level. Cheers (or, more so, Salut!)!