A Year of Picnics


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what i’m digging

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!!!!

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). 

What I’m Digging

Tossing Daisies
Happy Friday, friends! There is a gentle rain puttering down outside. I’m in a flannel shirt inside. These two things, in combination, are a total win, in my book.

We are about to head into town, so I’m going to quickly post a small smattering of this and that’s that have caught my attention recently:

*Did you know that the Edible magazine community also has a t.v. show? I didn’t, but, boy am I glad I do now!

*Fourteen ways to preserve strawberries, and a pie.

*I am totally captivated by my recent discovery of the Corryvreckan whirlpool, in the Scottish highlands, and have been geeking out on videos with Huxley for days.

*Speaking of Scotland, I love it so, and dream of spending time there in this amazing caravan someday (check out Canopy and Stars “Year Of Wild” while you’re on the site, too; brilliant!).

*The Simple Things magazine. Have I mentioned it here before? Can’t remember…in any event, it’s published in the U.K., and it’s all about simple living, and it’s just the best.

*10 sauna benefits that will blow your mind.

*My wonderful friend Claudia Lucero has launched a fantastic Kickstarter campaign. She’s trying to get funding for a new line of DIY Dairy-free cheese making kits, and she’s *this* close to reaching her goal. Let’s help her reach it!

Alright, time to close the laptop, put on my shoes, and grab the car keys. Before I go, I wanted to share with you how much I’m digging Lily and Addie, pictured above. Their herbal business, Tossing Daisies, is a venture they created to both expand their herbal knowledge and benefit others, as the business’s proceeds go towards supporting non-profits. I met them this past Wednesday, at the Asheville River Arts District farmer’s market. Turns out they’re fans of my books, and asked to take a photo with me, then offered to give me a complimentary item to try out. After I selected a face mask, they came over to where I was sitting a few minutes later and gave me two more items! How profoundly generous. These girls have hearts of gold! If you’re in the area, do stop by their Wednesday market table and check out their wares. They’ve crafted some fantastic items!

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


What I’m Digging

Green coveSo much green here in the cove! We finally got a much needed rain shower this past weekend. Right this very minute, as well. It’s thundering outside, the sky is ominous, and my German Shepherd, Fly, who is otherwise ferocious at defending us (and herself) from perceived threats, is a hot mess, curled up under my feet, whimpering and pawing at me. Sorry, furry buddy, but we need this. Let it rain!

Here’s a quick little  smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this weekend:

*Roasted strawberries. Sacrilege or brillance? I’m going with brilliance!

*Research proves that women who live surrounded by nature live longer. Therefore, I shall live forever.

*Because I can never get enough natural oral hygiene tips in my life, here are 4 natural remedies for a healthy mouth.

*Picked up this book over the weekend at the Screen Door’s bookstore. Very excited to dive into it.

*Speaking of books, completely intrigued by From the Forest: A Search For the Hidden Roots Of Our Fairy Tales.

*Really digging the Plantfolk Apothecary Instagram account. Their website is being redone and will be back up this month. I’m especially drawn to the Lunar Bath Soak.

*I just want to give Birkenstock a big old “I LOVE YOU!” shout out. It’s been warm enough lately for sandals, and I’ve been wearing the Birks I bought last year all weekend. They’re the first I’ve ever owned, and they are, without question, some of the best shoes I’ve ever had the pleasure of sliding my feet into. Customer for life from now on.

*My friend Valerie has the loveliest little tooth pillows for lost teeth for sale in her Etsy shop. Perfect for tucking under pillows in anticipation of a certain nocturnal fairy!

*I’m as equally thrilled about treating my mom to brunch at Knife & Fork for Mother’s Day as I am about treating myself to brunch there!

*Speaking of Mother’s Day, Wake Foot Spa in downtown Asheville would be a lovely gift for the mamas in your life. I went last month for the first time, with my friend Maria,  and then I took my mom there for her birthday a few weeks ago. It is simply divine. Huge copper bowls filled with a foot soak of your choice. Hot neck wraps. Foot and lower leg massages (for an additional fee). Chill vibes. Hot teas. You booked your reservation yet?

Off to finish cooking for tonight’s meeting of my monthly Feel Good Book Club. We read The Invention of Wings, by beloved author Sue Monk Kidd, and are building a potluck around low-country foods. I’ve made a creamy rice pudding with orange zest and nutmeg, and am now heading to the kitchen to cook up some Gullah-inspired butter and bacon grease braised cabbage. Tonight’s meeting is going to be beyond.

From my home to yours, here’s hoping the week ahead is a great one!


What I’m Digging

Huxley steps daffodils
Happy Friday, friends! Most of the windows in my house are open, the sun is shining after a night of steady rainfall, and I’ve got a picnic dinner planned for this evening. Game on, spring. Game. On.

Here’s a little smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention online recently:

*The next big thing in American regional cooking: Humble Appalachia. These are my familial culinary roots, friends!

*Speaking of southern fare, Southern Provisions sounds like seasoned, sage read on the topic. The topic is on my mind these days, all day, every day, as I’m currently at work on my 9th book, which is all about, you guessed it, southern foods!

*Skrap Monkey is a repurposed functional and decorative scrap metal line from Asheville artist Mark Scheiferstein. I am totally smitten with his jewelry. I picked up a little “treat yo’self” pair of his earrings downtown at Boutique Lp for a mere $28. Re-purposed, beautiful, and affordable=the holy trinity of jewelry purchases.

*While I was treating myself to Skrap Monkey’s earrings, I also saw this moon phase cuff from Jenny Bird. It’s totally on my future “treat yo’self” list and will one day be mine. Mark my words. ~Word from the wise: when you sign up on Jenny Bird’s newsletter, you get a code for $20 off your first purchase.

*The Bee Man Candle Company‘s spring beeswax candles are well-made, all-natural, and adorable.

*Lavender Lemon Sandwich Cookies. Perfect for Mother’s Day, Baby Showers, Bridal Showers, Graduation Parties, or Tuesday afternoon.

*I only just learned about Numen: The Healing Power of Plants. Ready to dive in and learn more about a topic that, to me, feels like the obvious thing we all keep missing.

*Spring is here, at last, and for many, that means spring cleaning. Here are my recipes for homemade furniture polish, abrasive cleaner, and herbal sachets.

I’m about to close up my laptop and pack up my picnic basket. The flowers are in bloom at Biltmore and I intend to picnic with friends amongst them!

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

*This little guy is who his dad and I dig the most. Sometimes it’s hard being a parent. Really hard. Extremely hard. Like when he’s losing his cool and I’m trying so hard to hang onto mine (because, honestly, loosing it and yelling NEVER elicits the response I, or anyone, wants). But, ultimately, parenting has made me a better person. Being Huxley’s mom has helped me to be more patient, more empathic, more compassionate, and in less of a hurry. It’s the hardest job with the biggest payoff. It’s shocking that he’s nearly 5 1/2. I adore being a mother, despite its challenges; perhaps on account its challenges, actually. Growing and maturing and working towards becoming a better person is worth the work.