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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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  • Round and around. The goods tunes don't stop when Huxley's cousins Sam and Zeke are visiting (he calls them his
  • Such a thoughtful birthday gift from @melissaweisspottery. Been using it every morning to get sugar from the sugar bowl out for coffee. Thanks, sweet friend!
  • If you're going to help a friend with wedding planning, then this is totally the view you should have whilst doing so. Lovely afternoon sipping hard cider, eating hush puppies, and helping @shelterprotectsyou plan, with @thecuriouseye @forvillagers @toandfromwithlove and Claire Hummel at the Grove Park Inn.
  • Bonsais, I love you. @thencarboretum
  • Wild berries for breakfast, with French toast. So, so good.
  • Quilts of flowers, from yesterday's @thencarboretum excursion.
  • Misty, magical day for strolling at the N.C. Arboretum.
  • Happy Friday, friends! Got a new
  • The Land of Sky, indeed.
  • This amazing pile of all organic produce hails from Hominy Valley Organic Farm, a gorgeous plot of earth just down the road from us. Tom's prices are astoundingly good (he posts a weekly listing of what's available on his FB page). If you're in the area, Fridays are open farm days for purchasing produce. If you go, please do tell him I sent you!
  • The amazing Dave Bauer, mastermind and baker extraordinaire behind @farmandsparrow and @allsoulspizza, cradling some precious loaves for yesterday's River District Tailgate Market. Easily the best bread (and pastries, and pizza!) I have EVER had!!!
  • Warm olive salad at @allsoulspizza... That's what I'm talkin' about!

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Yearly Archives: 2012

Weekend Review

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Happy Monday, friends! And Happy New Year’s Eve! I’m one of those ultra cautious folks that doesn’t like to be out on the roads this one particular evening of the year, so, after the tiny Englishman goes to sleep, I intend to park my rear on the couch beside my sweet spouse, sip something bubbly, and (hopefully) ring in the new year at midnight (if I can keep my peepers open that late; such an old lady I am-and talking like Yoda, it would appear…).

This weekend was pretty chill. I’m working on my next piece for Taproot, so much of Saturday was spent creating, testing, and photographing recipes for that. Yesterday I was able to spend some quality time with much-loved, not-seen-nearly-enough friends. Love those cozy, comfortable meet ups with my nearest and dearest.

Otherwise, here’s what happened, visually:

*Broke in Glenn’s panini grill, a holiday gift from yours truly. He whipped up reubens with a side of homemade pickles and hard cider. Best. Gift. Ever.
*Happened across mention, and a photo, of my “Keeping Chickens” book in the January issue of Better Homes & Gardens. I’ll take a surprise like that any day!
*Along with my usual monthly column in Verve, this month I was fortunate enough to be asked to pen the cover story. Then they went and made me the cover girl! (Locals can pick up a copy on newsstands now; for everyone else, my English Lessons piece and the food trends story aren’t up online yet-soon as they are, I’ll be sure to let you know).
*Exchanged some gifties yesterday with Nicole. Can’t wait to try them all out, including a homemade “Love” tea blend, a kaolin bergamot bath soak, and an infused vanilla, cardamom & cinnamon honey. YES!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful New Year. On the first day of 2012, Glenn and I woke up and spotted, from our bed, a double rainbow down in our lower field. We took this to be a rather auspicious omen. Don’t know that we’ll get to see that again, but, no matter. I’m convinced 2013 is going to be grand.

Also, New Year’s Day is the day of my very first date with my sweet man, back in 2007.  From that fateful dinner date, I walked into a life filled with love, creativity, and true partnership, and I make it a point to remember how blessed I am to have found such a P.I.C. (partner-in-crime for the uninitiated) each and every day.

Small measure family, may 2013 be your best year yet!!!

What I’m Digging

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Happy Friday, friends! We’ve had a wonderful week so far, and I truly hope you have, as well.

In lieu of my customary round-up of digital links, for today’s What I’m Digging, I wanted to share some sneak peeks of the goodness this week has brought. The images above chronicle our days from Christmas Eve through yesterday (which just so happens to be the birthday of both my brother, Walker, and my sister, Devan-happy birthday, sweets!!!):

*Wishing big.
*Shepard’s pie at Cedric’s Tavern=amazing.
*After always being too afraid to ride them, Huxley decided Christmas Eve was finally the day to get on a tractor (a group walked by and he yelled “Hey, I’m riding a tractor, ladies!”).
*Draft horses.
*Chocolate pretzel face, the best kind of face, really.
*The conservatory facade.
*The smell in there was so invigorating-and the poinsettias, everywhere!
*Watching a field of robins.
*The fog rolled in as we were driving away, and these gorgeous ponies came striding out of it. Pure magic.
*Smitten with his tea set.
*Digging his firetruck from Pop Pop & Grandmother.
*Weck jars, a gift from my lovely man (picked up locally at Small Terrain).
*Beautiful jewelry, including earrings from Elaine B and a necklace from Asheville artist Olivia de Soria (both picked up locally at Elementality).
*The holiday meal (more details about this below).
*Apple pie creme brulees, oh yeah.
*Little buddies eating soup (Huxley and his friend Awynn could pass as siblings sometimes, I swear).

A jaunt to the Biltmore Estate on Christmas Eve was an absolute dream (a generous holiday gift from my in-laws). Everything about the day was perfection. Even better are all of the sustainability initiatives the estate has been implementing over the years, holding true to George Vanderbilt’s vision long ago of a self-sufficient, self-sustaining estate. From 5,000+ solar panels supplying over 25% of the property’s power needs, to farm-to-table relationships with area farms and food purveyors, from being the reason Pisgah National Forest exists for the public to enjoy, to using biodegradable packaging in their gift shops, Biltmore is working hard to uphold both the family’s vision and the ethos and mission of the entire Asheville area to be a model of sustainability.

We totally dug it, and Huxley was completely smitten on his inaugural trip. For an extra $29, we purchased annual passes. Now we can put our bikes in the car, pop over to the property, and enjoy the thousands (literally) of gorgeous acres year-round. The gardens and greenhouses are exquisite lessons in native and exotic botanicals, the bass pond and creeks are rife with aquatic life, the farm is full of animals to view, and the paths are well-worn and perfect for walking or biking on. We’re ready to picnic, hike, and just amble on the property, all the way up until next Christmas Eve!

Christmas day brought the little guy all kinds of fun. Family and friends gifted him with every manner of goodies imaginable. My mom and grandmother (Gigi and Nanny, respectively) shared the day with us, which concluded in a hearty meal of prime rib (Glenn riddled the meat with garlic cloves and rubbed the top with rosemary from our garden) with homemade horseradish & creme fraiche and a gastrique made from homemade berry preserves, creamed spinach with garlic, mashed potatoes, red wine, sparkling cranberry juice, and, for dessert, apple pie creme brûlées (the recipe for these sweet morsels is in A Year of Pies). We ate our fill, and enjoyed eggnog and homemade wassail while Huxley ran around from one new toy to the next.

The day after, we three headed to Wild Things, a free-for-all rompus for littles that Huxley and Glenn have been regularly attending. I hadn’t yet been, and it was so much fun to see Huxley run and tumble and jump and dance and scoot (Plasma cars are amazing!!!) and get all kinds of excited when his buddy Milo (who I’d only heard repeat mention of but not yet met) showed up. A bit of Indian food was in order after all that frolicking. Whoever says children need their own menu hasn’t seen our child eat. Korma, vindaloo, saag paneer, naan, raita-he’ll eat your Indian food and then some. He even asked for repeated sips of “hot chai, Mama, hot chai!”

The season has been a lovely one so far, and as we move into the long, slow stretch of winter, I’m more grateful than ever for the love that I find myself immersed in and those that are giving it. It’s the best remedy on cold, grey days. It’s also the best gift I could ever hope for.

Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!

*If you’re so inclined, you can see a great, great deal more of our days of merriment here

 

 

 

Weekend Review

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It’s Christmas Eve, friends! We’re typically pretty low-key when it comes to the holidays, but, I gotta say. Having a little one in the mix makes things so very exciting this time of year. The cookie-baking, the present-wrapping, the gift-selecting, the holiday-decorating, the tree-hunting, the hot-ch0colate-making, the “did it snow overnight?”-guessing, the eggnog-drinking, the holiday book-reading-all of it is just riddled with fun and joy in a way neither Glenn nor I have experienced in years. Clearly, you don’t need kiddos to enjoy the holiday season, but, for us, we’re having a blast thanks to one Huxley Wild!

We started discussing what our Christmas Eve traditions will be, now that we’re parents. We’re thinking of something like this: looking at Christmas lights once the sun goes down (maybe…the jury is still out on this one), having a special meal (I can’t get the idea of Chinese food out of my head…), and letting Huxley open his stocking (the only one currently hanging on the mantle-note to self, I really must learn how to knit…).

Glenn is humming carols, Huxley is in the kitchen reading books about snow in his play nook, and I’m sipping hot coffee, enjoying the grey from the rain outside, and feeling so very grateful for all I have.

Here’s wishing you health, happiness, and much, much love this holiday season!!!

*Oh! I almost forgot! I’ve got a Small Measures post up on Design Sponge today, the last for 2012. It’s a recipe for making your own sleep salve. And trust me, you want to make it. Sweet dreams, and happy holidays! 

What I’m Digging

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Happy Friday, friends! And Happy Solstice! Hooray for the return of the light!

It’s crazy windy here this morning-55 mph wind gust crazy. When you live in an 11-acre forested cove, those kind of wind gusts can wreak some serious havoc. We’ve already lost power twice this morning, so I’m going to keep today’s round-up short and sweet.

I’ve got a Small Measures post up today on Design Sponge. I’m sharing my recipe for homemade chocolate mint patties. Oh. Yeah.

Here’s a smattering of this’s and that’s that caught my attention this week:

*Amy’s winter flowers. Breathtakingly beautiful.
*DIY stamped scarf=great last-minute handmade gift idea.
*I could easily live here, you know, forever.
*Excited for Modern Farmer.
*This eco builder would be wonderful for a (one day) renovation.
*Kate’s holiday drink recipes all sound heavenly.

We’re hosting another get-together for Handmade Gatherings (my newest book, due Spring 2014 from Roost) out here tomorrow evening. The theme is Winter Wonderland. It’s going to be a stunner, folks. A stunner!

Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!

*Each Friday I post a photo of Huxley here because, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most.

In A Jam

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Sometimes despite your best intentions to eat  or gift your way through all the jams, jellies, marmalades, fruit butters, preserves, and curds you’ve made in the past year, you still end up with a few remaining jars on hand come December. This is great news, if you plan to give some away as gifts, but a bit more challenging when you’ve given everyone on your list, and then some, a 1/2-pint of strawberry preserves or blackberry jam.

Enter the thumbprint cookie. These vessels will gladly take your extra preserves. For a modest effort of effort, you get a delicious means of using your goods up while your friends and family get a delectable treat. Everyone wins. Of course, there’s no mandate to have to give them away at all. In the business of the holiday rush, it’s important to stop and smell the cookies (and jam) oneself.

Oh, and that lovely little cookie tin up there? Glenn picked it up from a thrift store, and then decoupaged the lid with scrapbooking papers. Great way to create artistic, attractive cookie tins without spending a mint!

 

Lemon & Almond Thumbprint Cookies 
(loosely adapted from both Martha Stewart and The Cookiepedia)
Yield: Approximately 2 1/2-dozen cookies.

The Goods:
-1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
-2/3 cup sugar
-2 egg yolks, plus one lightly beaten egg white
-Zest of 1 lemon
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-3/4 teaspoon salt
-1 cup toasted almonds, finely ground*
-1/4-1/2 cup fruit jam (I used Blackberry Sage Jam that I made this past summer using the recipe from Food In Jars)
*To toast the almonds, bake in a 225ºF oven for 7-8 minutes, until fragrant. Allow to cool fully and then grind in a food processor until finely ground. 

The Deal:
1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or wax paper. Set aside.
2) Cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
3) Beat in the two egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the mixing bowl with a spatula between additions.
4) Beat in the lemon zest.
5) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Gradually add to the wet ingredients, beating until the dough is smooth.
6) Place the beaten egg white in a small mixing bowl. Divide the ground almonds evenly between two small mixing bowls.
7) Pinch off chunks of dough, and roll them into 1-inch balls.
8) Dip the balls into the beaten egg white and them in one of the small bowls of ground almonds. Continue until all of the dough has been shaped. Begin using the second bowl of ground almonds for rolling once the first one gets all gummy and globby.
9) Make an indentation in the center of each round, using either your thumbprint or the back of a spoon, creating shallow wells.
10) Fill each well with about 1/2-3/4 teaspoons of fruit jam (I use a small, serrated edge grapefruit spoon for this step; works like a dream).
11) Bake for 15-18 minutes until the cookie dough has fully cooked and the bottoms are lightly brown, rotating the position of the cookie sheets mid-way.
12) Cool completely before storing. Store in an airtight container and consume within 3-4 days.