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Food

Asian Lettuce Wraps

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Ever have a Tuesday so busy that it feels like the end of the workweek not the beginning? Make dinner super easy, super fast and SUPER delicious with Asian Lettuce Wraps. Using mixed lettuces, local ground beef and a few other ingredients, you can create a ten minute dinner that tastes like you’ve cooked for hours! This recipe promises to be your “go to” weeknight special that keeps everyone at your dinner table feeling happy! Continue reading…

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Simple Pleasures: Strawberries Two Ways

Local strawberries

Spring and summer in the mountains of western North Carolina are filled with non-stop activity, from hiking and biking adventures to backyard barbecues & family reunions.  Rain or shine, the siren song of the outdoors is simply irresistible. What about when you want to slow down a little and savor the simple pleasures of the season? Nothing packs all the flavor and brightness of a sunny afternoon quite like juicy berries fresh from the vine.  One bite immediately takes me back to my childhood, trotting along behind my grandmother as she picked berries and I held the bucket. Today I’m sharing two favorite family recipes featuring local strawberries, one sweet and the other savory. Hope these inspire new family memories in your kitchen!

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Inspiration

Friday Favorites

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One of my favorite contemporary photographers, Annie Leibovitz, once said “A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” As a writer and photographer myself, I love falling in love with the world around me. Check out this list of Friday Favorites as I pay homage to the people, places and actions that inspired me most this week. Take a peak, I promise you’ll fall in love too! Continue reading…

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Ensaladilla Rusa (Spanish Potato Salad)

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Looking for a fresh way to avoid the mid-week mealtime SLUMP?  Try infusing a simple meal with garden fresh herbs.  Whether you grow your own or buy them from local farms, cooking with fresh herbs is a wonderful way to get great flavor without adding unwanted fat or sodium. Family Fun Tip: Cooking with fresh aromatic herbs is a great way to get kids involved in the cooking process—which increases the chances they will eat the finished product without fussing over unwanted vegetables. Over the years what we’ve enjoyed most is exploring the world through different flavor and herb combinations. Inspired by flavors of the Mediterranean—try this simple & easy recipe using fresh dill to impart a light, bright spring-like flavor to your menu. Continue reading…

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#GetOutandExplore: Corneille Bryan Native Garden

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It’s Earth Day. For lovers of the natural world, Earth Day is kind of like our Super Bowl, March Madness and the World Series all rolled into one. There’s a lot at stake. Except in our version of “the big game,” we all win. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and marks the birth of the modern environmental movement. That was not a particularly bright time in American history. Yet this big burst of light shot out across the globe giving voice to an emerging consciousness that social, political and environmental change was called for—no demanded. In 1970, over 20 million Americans “took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.” To celebrate Earth Day 2016, my family and I spent some quiet time meandering through the Corneille Bryan Native Garden. Inside the spiritual retreat of Lake Junaluska, Appalachia’s most threatened plant species find a place of refuge. The sanctuary is tucked in a ravine that overlooks the lake, naturally forested by mature trees, where a variety of ecosystems thrive shoulder to shoulder. What better way to honor my brothers and sisters, past and present, who have worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between environmental public awareness, ideas and action than to seek sanctuary in this beautiful preserve. Continue reading…

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#GetOutandExplore: Charleston, SC & Thereabouts

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“It was my father who called the city the Mansion on the River. He was talking about Charleston, South Carolina, and he was a native son, peacock proud of a town so pretty it makes your eyes ache with pleasure just to walk down its spellbinding, narrow streets. Charleston was my father’s ministry, his hobbyhorse, his quiet obsession, and the great love of his life. His bloodstream lit up my own with a passion for the city that I’ve never lost nor ever will. I’m Charleston-born, and bred. The city’s two rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper, have flooded and shaped all the days of my life on this storied peninsula.” — Excerpt from Pat Conroy’s, South of Broad. Conroy captures, with lyrical beauty, the romantic draw of the city of Charleston. This week my family and I spent a few days exploring the low country including downtown Charleston, Mt. Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island. Spring gardens in the Holy City were filled with fragrant blooms, the air was warm, skies were blue and the locals welcoming—check out our adventures! Continue reading…

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