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QUENCH

 

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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  • A winter's day, in a deep and dark December. Enjoyed a walk down our driveway earlier to gather holiday cards and gifts from the mail with my little fella. Happy almost solstice, friends.
  • Local friends-whatever your plans are for this evening, change them! Come join me instead at @rhubarbavl for their
  • Great burger and transcendent frites with a charred onion aioli at @kingjamesavl. Great vibe and an exceptional waitstaff, which deftly caught that Huxley was nearing meltdown mode, and saved the day with a lightening fast, perfect grilled cheese. Wonderful seeing Steven Goff and @samlg87!
  • Livin' in an Appalachian paradise. ??(view of Mt. Pisgah, from the top of our road).
  • The finale at last night's Sunday Supper @rhubarbavl was this Chocolate Coffee Tart with Vanilla Orange Marmalade from my book
  • What a surreal experience last night @rhubarbavl, being served your own recipes! Shown here: Chimichurri Deviled Eggs (
  • So much delicious decadence on display yesterday afternoon at my 7th Annual Ladies Cookie Exchange. Thanks to all you lovelies (and your littles!) that made it out! Such a wonderful community of women I'm surrounded by. We three Englishes won't have to bake any more this holiday season! *That's your girl waiting patiently for the sugar frenzy to begin, @littlecoffeebeans !
  • Put this down as a night to remember. Immeasurable gratitude to @rhubarbavl for hosting recipes from all 7 of my books at tonight's Sunday Supper. @glennbenglish couldn't have been more thrilled. Our favorite restaurant in Asheville now feels even more like our dining room away from home.
  • Asheville and vicinity friends, I want to let you in on a secret. @oldworldlevain is a baked goods goddess, a fascinating woman (she bakes AND teaches tango lessons!), and simply a lovely human being. This medley of deliciousness is a mere sampling of the tastiness she had on offer today at her pop-up inside of Wood & Spoon in west Asheville. You can order regularly from her though, and you should. Her goods are creative, imminently flavorful, and clearly lovingly made. Obviously, I am smitten.
  • All kinds of magic percolating up in here.
  • Last night this sweet, tiny elf wanted me to pick him up, and then asked
  • Only a few seats remain for the Sunday Supper @rhubarbavl on the 14th featuring recipes from all 7 of my books. The large dining room is nearly sold out, woohoo!!! Call 828/785-1503 to reserve a spot before they're all gone. I'd love to see you there!

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Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Difference A Day Makes

Remember yesterday’s post, opening with images of our golden leaf-clad ginkgo tree? Well, ’tis no more! A wild wind blew into the cove today and sent the fan-shaped leaves falling off in a slow, steady, stunningly beautiful drop, drop, drop. Reminder enough to appreciate every beautiful fleeting moment as though it were your last.

Huxley’s party was heaven. Wild and wily and filled with laughter and goodness. A detailed post is coming. Until then, I’m going to go take a nap with our wild man with gratitude in my heart for an amazing community of friends and family, a smiling babe that loves to snuggle and giggle, and a ginkgo tree that gently reminds me to stop and seize the day, since tomorrow, it’ll be gone.

My Morning View

Some mornings out here in the cove, the view is positively breathtaking. Today is one such day.

Dazzling foliage in every direction. Fog and mist moving across the mountains in the background. Muted bits of blue sky peeking in through the clouds. Gorgeous.

The cherry on top is the fine looking pastry specimen pictured last. It’s one of Dave’s exquisite Apple Croissants from his bakery, Farm & Sparrow. Buttery, flaky pastry cradles local apples that are baked into caramelized perfection. Paired with a mug of hot cardamom coffee=a very happy mama.

We’re in full-throttle party mode, as Huxley’s “Wild Things” soiree kicks off at 4 p.m. Lots of photos to come.

Wherever you are, friends, whatever you do, may it be grand!

To the Letter

We’ve been on the hunt for a decorative “H” with which to adorn the entrance to Huxley’s room for some time. While we found a number of antique options, they were either too small or in a font we didn’t care for. Since necessity (or preference!) is the mother of invention, Hubs took matters into his own hands. Literally.

This rad “H” is the end product of his efforts. He cut the letter out, sanded the edges, patiently drew the graphic onto the wood, and then gave the whole thing a light stain. It’s perfect in my mind, and, once he can say so, I think Huxley will concur.

In his own words, here’s how you, too, can make things to the letter of your liking!

Materials:
*A scrap board of your choosing
*Permanent magic markers
*Minwax Golden Oak, or other light stain
*Top coat can be rub-on polyurethane or tung oil

Tools:
*Pencil
*A saw (preferably a jigsaw)
*Sandpaper (electric palm sander even better)
*Metal objects for distressing
*Rags for rubbing on the finish

Instructions:
1. Choose a board, then use a pencil to draw on the shape of the letter that you want.
2. Cut out the design.
3. Distress the wood a bit using whatever metal objects that you have around (i.e. a screwdriver). Be careful not to break the letter in the process.
4. Sand down the edges, corners, and any rough spots.
5. Draw whatever pattern you like on the front face of the letter.
6. Rub on a light coat of stain with a rag, wiping off the excess.
7. Let it dry overnight.
8. Apply a clear topcoat of your choosing.
9. Let it dry then hang it wherever you like!

*Don’t forget, clicking on the image makes it much, much bigger!

Your New Favorite Thing

Welcome to my new addiction. Pumpkin spice lattes. Oh, yes.

They’re incredibly easy to whip up. Well, let me qualify that; you’re going to need a pot to steam the milk, sugar and pumpkin in, some coffee (I use my french press for brewing), and another mixing bowl for whipping heavy cream and powdered sugar in. That said, they’re easy enough to concoct, and use ingredients you’re likely to already have on hand.

I used The Kitchn’s recipe as the basis, and then tinkered with things, namely the amounts and type of spices used. You can use either fresh pumpkin puree or canned. The sky is the limit.

Welcome to what will undoubtedly become your new favorite thing. You’re welcome.

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.