A Year of Picnics


  • Autumn mountain mornings are so breathtaking! View from the tophellip
  • I can see clearly now Was fighting some kind ofhellip
  • Hi friends! Im taking over the forvillagers feed todaySaturday Comehellip
  • Storm clouds rolling in Massive change of weather in thehellip
  • Happy 6th birthday to this little peanut sauce Life ashellip
  • Nothing could be finer  Our little hill house duringhellip
  • Thank you October You are always just what I needhellip
  • I know its officially autumn when the wild turkeys reappearhellip
  • The hills are alive! From up on the blueridgenps
  • Good morning! Wishing you a hefty dose of the Happyhellip
  • Ladies friendships with other women matter We need them tohellip
  • Turns out Im way more of a fall and springhellip

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Pie In the Sky

north-carolina-apple-pienorth-carolina-apple-pie-3 pie12
I try not to have favorites. I really do. Putting that qualifier-“favorite”-on anything puts undo pressure on both myself and on the object of my attention. Favorite songs, favorite movies, favorite restaurants; it’s all just a seriously slippery slope from adulation to expectation. That said, I really do think apples are my favorite fruit. I can’t help it. If my family had a coat of arms, I think apples would be on them.

To that end, I thought I’d share with you a few of my apple pie recipes from A Year Of Pies. Featured on two websites, the North Carolina periodical Our State and the Canadian blog The Art of Doing Stuff, don’t be surprised if you find yourself professing hyperbolic fruit preferences yourself.

*Chai Spice Apple Pie

*Brandy & Spice Apple Hand Pies

And for those of you looking to step up your pie dough-making skills, check out this post I did on crafting perfect pie dough on Design Sponge several years ago.

What about you? Have a beloved apple recipe? I’d love to hear about it!

What I’m Digging


Happy weekend, friends! It was 48 degrees here last night. There are five apple pies cooling on my counter, all for a pie walk to be held during the Michaelmas festival up at The Learning Village in a few hours. There is hot coffee in my mug, warm socks on my feet, and a mess of decorative gourds and pumpkins in front of me (insider tip=amazing selection and prices at the wholesale section of the Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market!). In short, it’s the most wonderful time of the year and all of my summer grumps have passed and I am beyond happy.

This week saw the beginning of the photo program for my southern foods book (out in 2018 with Roost). The dynamic duo husband-and-wife team of Johnny and Charlotte Autry, alongside their skilled assistant Kali, styled and photographed with grace and ease the dishes that Glenn and I cooked in the kitchen. Our porch was transformed into a photo site, and our dining room became the holding ground for the most beautiful selection of props I’ve ever seen. This is the 10th book I’ve done, and I still find myself transfixed by watching this part of the process, when the ideas become manifest.

In other non-cookbook news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this recently:

*Tis the time for saving seeds. Here’s a great tutorial on how to do so.

*My friend Sabrina turned me on to Amrita Aromatics. I haven’t purchased any yet, but I’m so intrigued!

*Janet Kent at Medicine County Herbs and Becky Beyers of Blood & Spicebush are local herbalists with incredible insights.

*A lunar embroidery kit from local artisan Cozy Blue.

*Homemade Sambuca, oh yes!

*Do you locals know about Living Web Farms? Their class roster looks phenomenal, as does their Fall Harvest Feast & Farm Storytelling dinner on November 15th.

*Cooler weather can translate to dry skin. I slather myself in Skyline Dairy’s Lemongrass & Vanilla goat milk lotion and keep my skin supple all cold weather season-long.

*Few things go better with cool weather than steaming mugs of chai. Here’s my go-to recipe.

*Huxley and I have been getting our Pep Rally on.  “I’m bout to whip it, whip it like potato salad.”

Time to go put on some flannel and wool socks and head up the mountain. Come on out and join us at the Michaelmas festival if you’re so inclined. Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!!!!

Cold Weather Wellness

I just checked the extended forecast, and, after Sunday, the next stretch of days in western North Carolina will all have high temperatures in the 70’s. AT LONG LAST! It’s no secret that hot, humid weather and I aren’t exactly tight buds. But, farewell to all that. Helloooooooooo to cardigans, knee high socks, hot tea, and sniffles!

That’s right, the most wonderful time of the year is also often the sickest time of the year for many, myself included. Over the years, though, I’ve wised up, and created a home apothecary of easily crafted remedies for bolstering winter wellness. I’ve shared them here before in the past, but the season is anew, and I wanted to share them with you again here today.

For my Elderberry & Honey Syrup, visit Design Sponge (I used to have a regular column there called “Small Measures” and it’s rife with nifty little DIY projects for home and body; also, I just wrote “nifty”, thereby 100% ensuring that I am my father’s daughter-if I say “dungarees,” though, I might need an intervention).

For my Fire Cider, visit Smoky Mountain Living (where I have a regular bi-monthly column). This is best made a month before you need it, so I’d suggest gathering up ingredients over the weekend and get yours going.

What about you? Have any homemade remedies for cold weather wellness you’d like to share? I’d love to learn about them. Wishing you and yours abundant health and a glorious autumn. Salut!

//Photo credits: Images 1 & 2 by Jen CK Jacobs, Image 3 by Meg Reilley//

What I’m Digging


Friends! How on earth has it been since June that we last spoke??! I will tell you how. No, actually, I won’t. Suffice to say, many balls have been in the air. One of them had to drop. It was a painful move, but I dropped this ball. Today, though, I’m tossing it back in the air. Hurrah! I’ve missed this place, and missed you all.

It’s Friday, and historically speaking (these past 3 months notwithstanding), Fridays here are for roundups of this, that, and the other that have caught my attention lately. Let’s get to it!

*My friend JT and his partner Samara are hosting a Kickstarter to launch their incredible whole hog butchery and speciality meats/deli in west Asheville. Their work is solid and their products are ace. Help them achieve their dreams, won’t you? Only 3 days left!

*I purchased this handmade ceramic match striker with an Etsy gift card given to me by my brother and his wife for my birthday (I turned 40 on July 11th, woohoo!). It’s such a simple thing, but I love it. It lives in the bathroom, for helping mask, um, “bathroom” odors.

*Wooden Weck lids!

*Two UK Instagram accounts I find deeply inspiring: Anja’s Coco In My Kitchen and Laura’s Circle of Pines.

*Fairly certain I’ve mentioned this here before, but it’s worth repeating just how much I love The Simple Things magazine.

*Since I seem to be on a bit of an Anglophile spree here today, might as well mention the fact that I’m scheming up a trip to Scotland this June for Glenn’s 50th and our 10th anniversary. This place sure has my attention.

*Hoping to visit Findhorn while we’re there, and then all of my My Dinner With Andre fantasies will have come true.

*Drinking this now that fall is upon us.

*Speaking of bubbly libations, kudos to my friends at Noble Cider for their inclusion in Bon Appetit’s Top 10 cider round-up!

*Feeling the siren call of overalls. Liking the looks of these.

*We are all in agreement that Stranger Things is the best thing not on tv, right? Even if it caused deep anxiety and restless nights for me. Worth the hit.

*Huge congratulations to my friend Ronni Lundy on the publication of her new book Victuals. It’s getting profuse praise, as it should. Johnny and Charlotte worked on the photography and styling for it, and I’m beyond excited that they’re the dynamic duo working with me on my current project.

I’ve got house guests, and I need to go shower and attend to about a million and one other things. Here’s hoping the super moon tonight fills your soul with inspiration and your home with moonlight!

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

**A peek at what we’ve been up to over the past week. Visiting beautiful places (Montreat, shown in both images above, is a perennial favorite) and making delicious things (all for the book). 

Community-Wide Handmade Gatherings Potluck!

Handmade Gatherings Paperback

Friends! My book on seasonal potlucking, Handmade Gatherings, is being released in paperback on June 14th. WOOHOO! With a new cover and new price ($24.95), this book is destined to get an entire second life. Please help me celebrate!

In collaboration with my wonderfully supportive publisher, Roost Books, I’ll be hosting a community-wide spring foods potluck on June 19th. The event is free and open to the public. Please come on down to the picnic pavilion at Carrier Park in Asheville, enjoy the river, and bring a dish to share that most represents the foods of late spring/early summer to you. We’ll be there form 12:30-3:30, and I believe Malaprops will be on hand selling copies of the book. I know it’s Father’s Day, so bring your Pops with you! All the restaurants will be overcrowded with brunchers anyways.

Glenn and I poured our hearts and souls into this book, as did many of you (so many recognizable faces of friends and family dot the book’s pages!).  Please, come help us celebrate the spirit of community and gathering together around food, fellowship, and festivities. Hope to see you there!