A Year of Picnics


The Essential Book of Homesteading















  • We made snow cream sundaes and hot chocolate and watchedhellip
  • Suffice to say Alistair dominated my feed in 2017 Seemshellip
  • Snow day snow cream sundae making me all kinds ofhellip
  • Hello darkness my old friend The cold comfort of winterhellip
  • In 10 days Alistair and I fly from Asheville tohellip
  • Oh what a long strange trip its been Exactly onehellip
  • Cold as ice Hominy Creek which runs beside our roadhellip
  • When I think about my intentions and resolutions for thehellip
  • I went in for the coconut cake SO! GOOD! andhellip
  • Tminus 3 months to liftoff and Southern From Scratch ishellip
  • Stay frosty Huxley but dont grow up too fast okay?hellip
my sponsors
budha hill natural toysImagine Childhood
Imagine ChildhoodBlissful Belly
Sponsorship Information
blog archive
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008


It’s the season of feasting, isn’t it? Even before this past Thursday’s Thanksgiving here in the States, folks have been swilling eggnog (I know I have!), sipping hot chocolate (it’s the most wonderful time of the year, after all), and otherwise nibbling and noshing and sipping and imbibing. Something about these shorter, colder days seems to invoke a seemingly unconscious desire to store up calories for the harsher weather to come. We tend to move a bit less, and eat a bit more.

I’m certainly not immune to this, and have begun my December tradition of starting the mornings off with a little sweet something, in the form of scones, stollen, or panettone. A little chunk of one of that holy trinity and a mug of hot coffee (typically laced with freshly ground cardamom seeds) gives me the added pep to great the dawn with a breath of fresh air. And when there’s a bit of snow kissing the cove out here, as was the case last Wednesday, I get an extra kick in my step.

Many folks look at winter with either outright contempt or irksome annoyance. I couldn’t feel more differently. When the mercury dips, I thrive. Give me some plaid flannel p.j.s and plaid flannel sheets (it’s like a plaid Tuxedo, for your bed!), or a plaid flannel shirt and a cardigan and I’m golden (those that know me well know my abiding love of all things plaid-I think my memoir will be called “Wrap Me In Plaid Flannel And Tell Me That You Love Me”, or something akin….).

Accordingly, this past weekend was all about feasting. From a buffet of splendor at Deerpark on Thanksgiving Day (after authoring two cookbooks this past year, Glenn and I decided it was time to treat ourselves-“Treat Yo’Self!”- and let someone else do all the cooking and cleanup-big shout out to Marissa Jamison for hooking us up with a reservation when the restaurant was completely booked solid!), to a truly stellar meal at the newly opened Rhubarb downtown, to seeing my Triple Berry Lattice Top Pie grace this cover of this past week’s Mountain Xpress, it was all food, all weekend.

I also had the exquisite pleasure of getting to hang out with Sara Bercholz, founder of Roost Books (who is publishing my two books coming up in 2014), last week. She and her partner Dave and little guy Milo were visiting Dave’s folks, who live about 1 1/2 hours north. We only just met in September, but we connected on what I feel was a “heart” level, and having her around was like having a missing piece in place. She treated us to Thanksgiving dessert (yes, we drove north after one feast to enjoy another!) and to lunch at Rhubarb. Love that lady and am grateful beyond words to have met her and her sweet family. Now, if I can only convince her to relocate Roost and its parent company Shambhala to Asheville (a lady can dream, right?)…..

It’s still all food, really, as I shift gears to planning the menu for my 6th annual Ladies Cookie Exchange this coming Saturday. Myself and around 30 other ladies will spread their tastiest dozens of cookies across my dining room table while we swap and snack on savory appetizers and punch. If there’s interest and, well, room (30 ladies plus kids in my petite house makes for cozy socializing!), I’ve got a mind to initiate a game of holiday-themed charades (can YOU act out “The Nutcracker” with, um, “grace”?). Should be a good time.

I’m also crafting my holiday gifting list. Local friends will be getting something for their kitchens, while family members far away will receive boxes filled with edibles, both homemade and locally obtained. Huxley is pretty pumped about these darker, cooler days, too, as he’s now savvy to their parallel association with the presence of chocolate and treats and other sweet goodness (the concession, of course, is that his teeth are getting brushed a lot!).

What about you? What’s brewing in your kitchen? Or where are you hoping to dine in your neck of the woods? ‘Tis the season of feasting, and I want to know what you’ve got simmering!

Here’s wishing you a week filled with health, happiness, and love, from my home to yours! 

*That title is not a typo. I’m totally owning “Feastivus!”

8 Responses to Feastivus!!!

  • Alicia says:

    Each season has a lesson, but fall and winter are my favorites. I pull out the flannel pajamas and homemade sweaters. I am the lunatic who sleeps with the temperature below or at 60. I prefer the warmth of the wood stove.

    Thoughts and my energies focus on home, and I embrace the silence and darkness associated with this time of year. Someone once told me: “Even in the greatest darkness, one can still find the greatest light.” That is the lesson, though the answer is not always obvious.

    Have a great week!!!

  • KC says:

    We are really big on homemade egg nog. The holidays is when i bust out all of my Italian cooking recipes from homemade panettone (recipe on the blog) to ciambelline (little wine cookies) and many other yummy treats. I make a lot of stew pies. Like steak and guinness pie!

  • Robin says:

    Oh! Such beautiful photography.

    I am all settled in, comfy cozy, ready for winter. There’s snow on the ground. I’ve stocked up on tea. I think the only thing I’m missing is plaid.

  • Karen says:

    Love that last picture, Huxley looks so much like you! Not much for the cold weather but I love the winter light and how the trees look all bare and silvery. I also love winter cooking. Have been spending as much time as I can fit in slow cooking and baking. Made an awesome Laotian Turkey soup with turkey stock from a recipe posted by Sharon Astyk a few weeks ago. It is beyond heavenly. Sharon blogs on Science blogs, here is the link to that post-

  • Eliza Twist says:

    Well where we live it’s pretty much the same kind of mild lovely weather and a very busy calendar all year round. But I’ve taken the cue from those of you who live where it snows. I’ve got a fully stocked freezer, a pile of craft projects to complete, and a whole bunch of writing to catch up on. Simple, in home pleasures. And I must say that it’s just what I want most right now. Tonight, for example, was minestrone and spiced cider. After we consumed the cider, I added water to the mulling spices and kept ’em boiling so now our place smells lovely.

  • anja says:

    these photos look so lovely and cozy and festive, they just made my day. here in germany, we` re waiting for a big storm that is supposed to bring a polar airstream and make everything a lot colder. today, it is misty and the ground is crispy and white from the frost. all the best from faraway berlin,anja

  • Spring says:

    I could not agree more! After growing up in The South with little winter cold to speak of, we came to LOVE the winters during our eight years in Indiana. Now, in SC, we escape to NC for tastes of fall and winter. In fact, we recently staid a weekend at a sweet little cottage just north of Asheville – the crisp air seems to wake me up and clear my thoughts. My students think I’m crazy when I come to early morning classes happy for a cold breeze, but it’s nice to know there are other winter-lovers :)

  • Erin says:

    Wow that spread looks awesome! So jealous! I am looking forward to some holiday baking. I bake cinnamon buns every year for Christmas (why not other times of the year?? who knows?). The recipe is from an old cookbook of my great grandmothers and they are baked in a cast iron skillet. Yay! I typically bake about 4 or 5 batches (2 at a time) but I think I’m upping my amount this year. The hardest part is rolling them out. That is a work out! It is also a bit of torture because I can’t sneak any tastes! You can exactly steal a bun from the set and try to give them away :) I haven’t been bothering with cookies too much because too many people give them to me. I do wish to someday do big cookie baking. I am hosting our annual ‘Santa Hat Party’. You must wear the hat no matter how itchy. I think I’m going to make saurbraten. It is a 3 day process but so good (plus, I have gravy and demiglace frozen from the last time….cheating!). I’m hungry!