• Loving this screen capture of our Huxley Wild. It's from a video our friend Ian made, using
  • I adore holiday lights. I also really love @thencarboretum. It's no surprise then that I'm giddily looking forward to the
  • That'll do pig, that'll do.
  • This is his
  • Brunch at Rhubarb-a good idea today, and always. Plancha roasted romaine with @lustymonk vinaigrette, @bentonsbacon, sunny side eggs, and fingerling potatoes. Not seen: a fried apple & cranberry hand pie that made my heart and belly happy. Huxley and @glennbenglish's, too.
  • My
  • The pies @rorris, @jenathan and I helped baking goddess @bakerhands make today will be available for purchase tomorrow at the North Asheville Tailgate Market from 8-1 pm, along with tarts and bread. Trust me, you don't want to miss out. Set your alarm clocks now!
  • When @bakerhands put out a call two days ago asking for a few hours of baking help today, I pounced at the chance to spend some quality time with such a warm, wise lady. When I found out @rorris and @jenathan had offered the same thing, the deal became even sweeter. The four of us gathered at Smoke Signals Bakery in Marshall today to chat, chew, and chop. Three cheers for wonderful people, delicious food, and fostering community. Hip, hip, freaking HOORAY!!! What a stellar day. *I was in charge of apple pie filling prep today. Photo credit to @rorris for capturing my hella serious pie-making game face!!!
  • When your morning looks like this, you know you're off to a good start. Was introduced to the glorious donuts and conviviality at @holedoughnuts today. Mercy! Goodness abounds.
  • Finally, I bring you this
  • This next pie is a pumpkin-meets-tiramisu hybrid, my
  • Up next in pie recipes with a Thanksgiving vibe from my book

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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Blue Jean Baby

Look who’s finally big enough for denim! Thanks to “Aunt” Sara for the hand-me-downs!!!

The Good Life

I don’t know who turned Jenna onto the BBC programs “Victorian Farm” and “Edwardian Farm“, but it was she who first brought them to my attention on her blog. And now, I’m hooked. As in, addicted.

The series chronicles the adventures of three modern Britons who live for a solid year in exactly the manner Victorian and Edwardian farmers once did. From clothing to farming, from cleaning methods to food processing, historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Peter Ginn and Alex Langlands tough it out in pastoral British settings, old-school style.

Their work is not for the faint of heart. From creating highly caustic quicklime to hand-washing laundry (a multi-day process Ruth eloquently describes as “flippin’ hard work!”), this trio brings historical Britain to life. And while the settings and animals are beyond idyllic and bucolic, it’s the labor behind processes once so strenuous that fascinates me the most (well, that and the clothes-the men’s clothes, really; I just adore nice trousers and vests and a good neckerchief and would gladly step out onto the streets of Asheville any day in such a get-up).

We’ve really got it easy these days. Even when appliances crap out or let us down (we had a run in with our refrigerator recently and had to transfer all of our food into coolers, which we placed outdoors in the snow while the deicing happened and then, today, we had our dryer serviced, as its heating sensor was acting up), we still have the luxury of their use. Pre-electricity, all work was done by hand, or horse. Absolutely back-breaking and bruise-worthy on all fronts, looking at the incredible amount of labor then involved in the most menial of activities makes me so very appreciative to live as we do today.

It’s easy to romanticize the past. I do it all the time. When confronted with it, however, in as explicit as a manner as that witnessed in these two programs, it looses its glossy grass-is-greener veneer. Only the truly wealthy of those times weren’t using the sweat of their brows to just get by. And although many of today’s technologies are considerably more polluting than their predecessors, they afford us a quality of life unimaginable by those living in earlier times.

We have a great deal to be thankful for. We have plenty of progress to be made, of course, in turns of cleaning up our technologies. Despite that, though, we are living in good times, times where labor-saving devices allow us to enjoy leisure and time for logic in vast quantities.

If you ever feel whiney about your current situation, check out this series. You’ll count your modern blessings, while learning valuable lessons from the not-too-distant past.

Indoor Drying Racks

Happy Friday, all! My “Small Measures with Ashley” post is up over at Design Sponge. Today I’m chatting about my love of indoor clothes drying racks. Save a bundle, on energy costs and carbon emissions, with these beauties!

So, we’ve been cloistered in again most of the week, owing to the snow. Hubs has ventured out twice for provisions and such, but, otherwise, we’ve just hunkered down, sipping on hot beverages, writing, cooking, and staying cozy. I’m hoping to make it to a dear friend’s house tonight for her birthday dinner (she’s having it catered from this place, which is so. very. good.). We’ll have to see if the snow and ice on our mile-long dirt road will comply. Don’t want to be slipping and sliding up the driveway with a 10 1/2-pound baby just to eat some naan, you know?

Stay warm, ya’ll!

On the Radio

I know this is super short notice, but I’ll be on Martha Stewart’s “Morning Living with Kim & Betsey” in just over a half-hour (I was just asked to be on the show yesterday afternoon)!

If you’ve got Sirius XM radio, tune in at 9:30 a.m. EST while we discuss home canning in the winter.

*Image from here.

Snowed-in Breakfast

I started getting accustomed to long stints of being snowed-in last winter. After that first snow dump last December, we were stuck out here, sans power, for five days. As a full-time, home-based writer, staying at home is really par for the course. And so, now that winter is upon us and snow has blocked access down the one-mile dirt road to our home, we’re sequestered out here once again.

I have to admit, though, that with my two guys to chat and cuddle with, a roaring wood stove, cozy pajamas for wearing to the “office” (my kitchen table) and a well-stocked pantry and fridge, I give being snowed-in two thumbs up. It’s truly a glorious winter wonderland outside and there’s nowhere I’d rather be.
Having a robust breakfast, cooked with love by Hubs, definitely makes the whole situation that much more enjoyable. The above plate of bliss is absolutely scrumptious. We used cheddar biscuits for the “foundation”, but, lacking those, you could just as easily use toast as your vehicle (I suggest rye). Hubs has provided the recipe for this delicious repast.
Snowed-in or not, I suggest you give it a go yourself. The cheese sauce alone makes it completely worth the effort.

Snowed-in Breakfast
You will need:
-2 Biscuits
-4 poached eggs (this recipe was actually featured on Food News Journal‘s “Best of the Blogs”)
-Collard greens with turkey sausage (recipe follows)
-Cheese sauce (recipe follows)
Collard greens with turkey sausage:
You will need:
-1/4 lb turkey sausage
-1 bunch collards, stemmed and chopped
-1 cup chicken stock
-Pinch of salt and a few grinds pepper
-1 Tbsp. butter

To prepare:
1) Cook the turkey sausage in butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
2) Add the collards to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring several times.
3) Add the chicken stock and salt and pepper.
4) Cook for about 15 minutes till the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.

Cheese sauce:
You will need:
-4 ounces grated sharp cheddar
-4 ounces milk
-1 Tbsp. butter
-1 Tbsp. flour
-1 Tbsp. coarse prepared mustard
-A couple shakes of Worcestershire sauce
-1/4 tsp nutmeg (fresh ground preferable)

To prepare:
1) Melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat.
2) Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3) Slowly add the milk, stirring in a bit at a time till incorporated.
4) Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
5) Continue to stir till smooth.

For full assembly:
1) Cut biscuits in half. Toast if necessary.
2) For each plate, spoon a little of the cheese sauce over the biscuit halves.
3) Next, evenly spoon the collard green mixture over the biscuit halves.
4) Spoon a little more of the cheese sauce on top of the collards.
5) Place the poached eggs on top of collards, and top with the rest of the cheese sauce.
6) Grind a little pepper on top if desired.
7) Serve and enjoy.