An Evening at a VA Farmhouse

Tuesday, April 15, 2014



This weekend was really lovely. My sister Deborah and her best friend Leigh were visiting from New Jersey, so we decided to take them on a real adventure: the Berryville town yard sale. The weather was perfect...lots of sun but not too hot. What a fun time we had...and we all found so many treasures! My favorite purchase is this tiny set of mounted antlers. The seller said they were European...there's some German written on the backside, but I can't make it out.

On Saturday evening, we all drove back out to Berryville to one of the most scenic areas of VA (actually located on a monastery) for a Spring potluck and bbq. Melissa, who grew up in Berryville and whose father farms this land, brought together a fun bunch of friends - old and new - and we chatted the evening away, all while taking in the 100+ year old farmhouse and 1,100 acre farm. I brought my signature dish: a big Caesar salad and Leigh helped me put together an quinoa salad. Laicie baked us some of the tastiest pies we've ever had. Why is rhubarb pie so darn good?

The potluck was a wonderful time, and it reminded me why I love gathering together with friends and family over a shared meal. When people - even total strangers - are united around a table, sitting intimately close, and breaking bread together, there is so much opportunity for fellowship and good conversation and friendship. If we hadn't needed to get our little Zoe home to bed, we would've lingered for hours and hours, roasting marshmallows around the bonfire and simply enjoying each others company. Next time, friends!

Recipe | Baby Greens with Lentils and Quick Pickled Onions

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Hello, friends! How was your weekend? Mine flew by, and I didn't accomplish everything I set out to do. The flower farm doesn't actually open until May, so that plan fell through. I don't know why I thought the flower farm on the other side of town would magically be green and producing floral bounty when our gardens are still barren and brown... I'll just have to put that new blog series on hold until May! We did spend lots of time together as a family on Saturday, and went to the farmer's market (and the auction...of course!), and then visited Joe's family in WV. I spent most of Sunday in the car, driving to Roanoke and back to visit with Beth. We had brunch at Local Roots Restaurant, and chatted the hours away...planning and scheming for our August workshop.

I picked up these baby greens at the Purcellville Community Market this weekend...I cannot wait until more produce is available from local farmers. Nothing compares to fresh greens...they're so crunchy, full of flavor, and they just taste young and new! I'm a salad person (and thankfully, Joe is too, so I can get away with salad dinners), and am always looking for healthy ways of adding protein into the mix. For yesterday's lunch, I decided that I'd boil some lentils and quick pickle onions and he result was a deliciously simple salad. Here's what I did:

Baby Greens with Lentils and Quick Pickled Onions

Ingredients
- 1 cup lentils
- water
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- baby greens
- quick pickled onions (recipe coming tomorrow!)
- olive oil 
- salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions 
- First, cook the lentils.  Dump lentils into a pot and add 3 times water, garlic cloves, bay leaves, thyme, and a bit of salt. Cook for about 20 minutes. Check occasionally as you may need to add water, and you certainly don't want to overcook them. When finished, drain and allow to cool. I added more salt after they were cooked since I like salt.
- Rinse and dry baby greens. Make your salad....place greens in salad bowl, add a pile of lentils and a few pickled onion slices. Then drizzle with olive oil and a bit of the onion brine. Add salt & pepper. Et voila! Your salad is ready to enjoy. 

What I love most about this salad is its fresh simplicity. The onions (instructions coming tomorrow) add a delicious tangy crunch, and the lentils give it substance. And the greens...I've already gushed about the greens. I could eat them plain they're that good. Can't wait for next Saturday because I'll be stocking up for the week.

Spring Brunch and New Friends

Friday, April 4, 2014

Anyone else been incredibly surprised and blessed by the friendships made through blogging? I've said it a million times, and I'll say it again! I never imagined that any of this would happen when I started A Daily Something 3.5 year ago in my college dorm room!

Earlier this week, Zoe and I drove into DC for Spring brunch with our new friend, Christine, one half of the powerhouse duo behind the brand new seasonal, farm-to-table menu planning service, Huckle & Goose (they're launching late May). What a wonderful Tuesday afternoon it was! Christine served the tastiest egg salad sandwiches (complete with crunchy radishes layered on top), homemade granola with greek yogurt (and the yogurt was sweetened with pear butter...brilliant).

The table was simply lovely. I didn't want to move away (or stop staring at her side board full of delicious kitchen props). I could have taken 1,000 photos (but limited myself to 4 so Christine didn't think I was obsessed, ha!). I find it intriguing to share a meal in friends' homes ... to see how they decide the menu, prepare the food, set the table, take care of their toddler, etc. I always leave inspired and encouraged. And Tuesday was no exception...I am so impressed with all that Christine has managed to do, all while being a mama to the cutest 2 year old (and with baby number 2 due mid-May)!

I am so very excited to be collaborating with Huckle & Goose later this year. What a blessing to meet like-minded creatives in the DC area! I can't wait to share more about what's in store for this year...and help them celebrate their launch come May!

I have a lot planned for the weekend...cleaning the house today...which is no fun. I'll be honest, I don't like cleaning. Then tomorrow, I'll be visiting the farmer's market tomorrow, hopefully working on a few blog posts, stopping by the farmhouse where we're holding Gathering from Scratch (my August workshop-retreat with Beth Kirby...which is SOLD OUT...thank you, friends!! If you missed a retreat ticket, we still have about half of the Thursday evening dinner tickets available!), and spending time with my family. On Sunday, I'll be heading down to Roanoke to grab brunch with Beth, who's in VA for the weekend. (Another friendship made through blogging...and we're just meeting in person for the first time...so fun!) Follow along the adventures through instagram! Have a blessed weekend!

Recipe | Mac + Cheese with Brie, Manchego, and Mushrooms

Tuesday, April 1, 2014






Cheese has got to be one of my favorite food groups, if not my all-time favorite. I can munch on almost any variety and I frequently find myself finishing off a block. All by myself. Cheese satisfies a desire to experience something hearty and simple. Complex yet uncomplicated. Something gooey, creamy and salty. I first tasted Manchego cheese at a friend’s 30th birthday celebration. The theme of the evening was a wheel of Manchego cheese. We paired the Manchego with figs, freshly baked baguettes, honey, roasted walnuts, grapes, and wine. The menu was divine, and we spent hours talking about the rich, nutty, textural wheel of Manchego.

When cheese is paired with the simplest of ingredients, a dish can be elevated from ordinary to luxurious. The recipe I’m sharing today is one of those dishes. Macaroni and cheese from a box is one of the easiest meals to prepare. Kids everywhere love it, but it lacks depth of flavor. Making macaroni and cheese from scratch requires a bit more time and effort but promises an incredibly rich reward. With the addition of real cheese (namely, President Brie and Manchego), white wine, and mushrooms, this recipe does not disappoint. It’s creamy, cheesy, and you won’t be able to stop eating it! Serve it with roasted veggies or a salad and you have a meal!

Mac & Cheese with Brie, Manchego, and Mushrooms

Ingredients
- 1 lb organic whole wheat pasta
- 2 slices sprouted grain bread (I used Ezekiel flax bread)
- 1/2 cup raw pecans
- 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb mushrooms, cut into quarters
- 1 8-ounce Président Brie Round, chopped and with wax grated off
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 5.2 ounce Président Manchego block, chopped

Directions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil water for pasta and cook according to instructions on package.
- Place bread and pecans in food processor and process until well blended and pecans are nicely chopped.
- In a medium-large frying pan, warm 1 tablespoon coconut oil, then add bread crumb mixture. Toss with the butter and cook until slightly browned. Remove from pan and put aside.
- In same frying pan, warm one tablespoon of coconut oil and one tablespoon of olive oil, then add minced garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, then add mushrooms, and salt and pepper to taste. Let mushrooms cook for about 3 minutes, then add white wine. After simmering for a few minutes, remove mushrooms from pan with slotted spoon. Put aside.
- In same frying pan, whisk the flour into the liquid, then add milk. Stir constantly until mixture begins to thicken.
- Remove pan from heat and add Brie and Manchego cheeses. Continue stirring until cheeses are melted.
- Add pasta and mushrooms and mix completely.
- Place pasta in 9x13 baking dish (or individual oven-safe serving dishes) and sprinkle with bread crumb mixture. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Serve piping hot with roasted veggies or a salad.

Recipe adapted from TheKitchn.

Art of Cheese is a new (and beautiful) digital showcase that just launched to show off Président Cheese's tasty cheese varieties. Président Cheese recently partnered with a group of seven bloggers and asked us each to share our own interpretation of "the art of cheese" by showing how we'd reinvent a classic cheese dish. Check out the other posts on Art of Cheese, and follow along with #artofcheese. Enter to win $50 worth of your own Président cheese by visiting ArtofCheese.com and entering the Pinterest sweepstakes. 

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Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting sponsored posts - it helps allow me to continue to produce quality content!

Thoughts on Organization and Honey and Life

Monday, March 31, 2014




Happy Monday!

What a wonderfully exciting week it's been! In case you missed it, I launched A Daily Gathering and Gathering from Scratch.

Gathering from Scratch is a weekend workshop-retreat at an historic stone farmhouse in the Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia. Beth Kirby and I are working together to put together this creative retreat, and I couldn't be happier. Thank you for all the support and excitement for A Daily Gathering and Gathering from Scratch! If you've been thinking about attending, you better snatch up your ticket since we only 2 more available!

For the past two weeks, my family's been visiting...what a blessing they live close enough to hop in the car and visit for a few days. I'm especially thankful that my sister Sarah (and my 19-month old neice) drove out from St. Louis and spent spring break with us. I just love my family!

Today I'm getting back into the groove after two weeks of family visiting: cleaning the house, trying to get Zoe back on her normal napping schedule, organizing, and prepping for a couple of upcoming busy weeks.

My whole life I've been a procrastinator (or, as I like to call myself, a procrastimaster). Before I could work on what really needed to be done (like writing a paper for school), I'd have to get my life in order and make my surroundings organized and inviting. I'm definitely still a procrastimaster, because before I want to blog, or cook dinner, or pack for a shoot, I usually feel like everything has to be neat & tidy. I hate cooking in a disorganized, cluttered kitchen, and I really enjoy a pretty pantry. I love opening my cabinets and seeing our provisions neatly arranged in rows, all transplanted from their blah, colorful packaging to beautiful, [usually vintage] containers. I've had a gallon of honey sitting, unused, in the pantry for several months...the honey had crystallized and it was too inconvenient to use. And the container wasn't the prettiest. This morning, I decided to send my mom off with a jar of her own honey, so I went ahead and re-packaged all the honey into jars. Now when I open my cupboard, I'll see these lovely vessels, filled to the brim with light amber nectar. Such perfection! Just need to find containers for all the food things (spices, etc.).

As part of getting organized and back into the groove, I'll be working on posting more consistently on here. Ever since having Zoe, I've found it increasingly difficult to blog, let alone every day. I get discouraged when I can't find the time to post every day, and I let myself get bogged down in feelings of inadequacy and failure to live up to my blog title. haha! My mom really encouraged me to set out the goal of posting twice a week. So, here goes! Thanks for the support, mom!

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