snow day in asheville!

last week some friends and I decided to take a day trip from athens —> asheville. after an early morning of driving, coffee and car games (terrible car games) asheville welcomed us with SNOW !! we spent most of the day exploring local bookstores and boutiques (and urban outfitters !), and most important of all: eateries. We ate breakfast at a cute little gluten-free bakery/cofeehouse called the green sage in the heart of downtown. If ever you’re in asheville, this is a prime people watching spot. you’ll find the coolest people asheville has to offer all somehow collected in this small space. after some more snow fun and cold hands we decided to warm up (and did we warm up) with a local spot called dobra tea. this place was the coolest — and potentially hottest — place in asheville. a local tea joint, it features a small chapter book of tea varieties and bakery items from across the world. And even greater, you’re seated Moroccan style on floor cushions accompanied by a little bell for when you’re ready to order. super eclectic and relaxing. After sightseeing every corner of the city we headed back to athens. a three hour trip well worth the day!Image ^^ our beautiful presentation of personalized tea pots (and our little bell.. which we may have abused)Image^^pardon the lighting, but how fun is this set-upImage^^ every corner of this town is so uniqueImage^ SNOW! pretty to watch but when it comes to walking on it, things were a lot less gracefulImage^^a local chocolate shop with a window into the decorator’s studio. ImageImage^^green sage. i ordered a lox omelette with a local sweet potato hash. perfection.Image^^pretty boutique window displays, what a dream

co-op fun

Yesterday was the perfect day to spend some time on the west side of town: home of athen’s towniest townies. After adventuring through some pretty brick allies, bookstores and historic neighborhoods I stopped by Daily’s co-op: athen’s premiere organic, fair trade market. In my exploration I learned a little about the mission of cooperative markets. To my surprise I found that co-ops are owned and run exclusively by their members who contribute not only funding but also all of the products found on the store’s shelf. how cool. Most everything in the store is grown locally, non-GMO and organic (meaning more expensive) but well worth the buck to support keeping Athens local. Daily’s serves local coffee and tea, homemade sandwiches, juices, and deli options (including some stellar salads) and aisles of unique ingredients. Definitely recommend this Athens spot!Image^^Some of this season’s produce: ginger, garlic, potatoes. a full list is featured on their site:

http://www.dailygroceries.org/our-products/fresh-local-produce/

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^^ too pretty and colorful not to capture

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^^ not only sustainable but also beautiful. i love the look of this unique spot

favorite homemade spaces

some of my favorite little places in our makeshift home here on campus. These projects all added up to fit in the double digits ever shrinking college budget

the last of 2013!

christmas moments

This Christmas was full of extraordinary moments. Here’s a small collection of our little family’s favorite memories made this holiday.

dad and I delivered homemade sugar cookies to neighbors and friends working on Christmas morning. Our stops included the fire station, starbucks, the gas station, the gate house and a next door neighbor who was working over the holiday. I was shocked by their grateful spirits and joy, and thankful for a moment to tell them how appreciated they were.

brother and I – yes, both in our twenties- competed in our annual gingerbread house competition. I’ll let you decide who’s was the winner, but let me mention mine had frosted icicles from the rooftop  (you be the judge). Mom judged and dad ate the candy, some traditions stick with us.

christmas foodie

AM

sausage and garden vegetable strata from christmas morning

such a perfect holiday recipe [and a great make ahead] !!

11 eggs
2 cups kale
1 pkg frozen turkey sausage
1/2 loaf multigrain bakery bread
1 cup milk
1 shallot, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1-2 cups of shredded cheddar
seasoned salt to taste

so simple. Preheat the oven to 375 and then cut the bread into cubes and place in a greased baking pan (9×13). Next, mix the eggs and milk until all the yolks are beaten. Set aside while sweating the chopped shallot & leek in a skillet with about a tablespoon of oil (coconut or olive oil would be best). Add the kale and cook it down until the greens are wilted (3-5 minutes on medium high). While the kale cools, heat the turkey sausage until fully cooked, it took me about 5-7 minutes. Next, mix in the kale and shallot mixture with sausage and the beaten eggs and pour over the bread.  Add the tomato and cheese into the pan until mixed. If you want to add other ingredients now would be the time (mushrooms or artichokes would be a good addition). Once mixed, I let mine set overnight so that the bread could absorb the flavor, but if you’re making it the day of place it in the oven for 40 minutes until the center is no longer liquid. I’m telling you this is the easiest and tastiest Christmas breakfast we’ve made, a new tradition no doubt.

helpful hints:
*I recommend prepping the strata a night ahead so that the bread can absorb the flavor
*After chopping the leak, place chopped pieces in a bowl of room temp. water to remove any silt left on the vegetable.

                                                                                                                                                              

PM

At dinner we borrowed some amazing recipes for a Christmas feast, found here:

Green Beans with Bacon & herbs: http://www.cookincanuck.com/2012/11/fresh-green-beans-bacon-mushrooms-recipe/
Note: Since it’s my favorite, I added rosemary to the beans and they were out of this world

Horseradish crusted roast beef:
http://www.recipe.com/horseradish-crusted-roast-beef/

Blue cheese and pear salad:
http://drizzleanddip.com/2011/05/09/pear-blue-cheese-and-walnut-salad-with-a-maple-syrup-vinaigrette
Note: I recommend toasting the walnuts in a dry skillet for three minutes to release some of the oils. Also, I recommend using a little less maple syrup than the recipe calls for, it overwhelmed the flavors of the dressing a tad.