5 things to do right now if your allergies are driving you crazy

Spring comes slowly to the mountains, but it is finally here – bringing with it a whirlwind of pollen.  Word is that this allergy season is worse than usual and that people who don’t normally have sinus and allergy issues are rubbing their eyes, wiping their noses, and taking naps trying to sleep off sinus headaches.  Not exactly enjoying the good life…

 As someone who suffers not just from seasonal allergies, but every day of my life allergies, I want to share my best tips.

  • Take a shower.

I know you don’t want to hear this, but you are covered in pollen.  It’s in your hair.  It’s in your clothes.  After being outdoors, take a quick shower and change.  Another shower before bed will set you up for a good night’s sleep and has the added advantage of hydrating your sinuses.

  • Wash all your bedding in hot water.

Yes, the sheets, mattress pad, blankets, duvet, allergy covers, and comforter too. I use hot water with a double rinse. You don’t have allergy covers? Get some for your pillows and your mattress. They help protect against dust mites, pollen, and pet dander.  They also keep your pillows from getting stained.

  • Shut the windows and turn on the AC.

Sleeping with your windows open might be one of life’s little pleasures, but it is not helping you during allergy season. You may want to check your air filters as well.  They are probably not as clean as you think they are, at least mine never are.  If you need to buy replacements, consider springing for the more expensive HEPA filters. Replace the filters and wipe down the grates.  Better yet, get someone else to do it.

  • Hydrate your sinuses.

Nasal irrigation is a must.  I use my Neti pot daily year-round, and when seasonal problems start, I go to twice daily.  If I’m feeling like my sinus issues are sucking the life out of me, I use it 3-4 times a day.  Keep it super clean and be sure to use purified water if you have any concerns about the purity of yours.  If you use chlorinated water, it may aggravate your sinuses further.

I also keep bottles of saline nasal spray handy – nightstand, purse, car, office, dressing table, bathroom.  It’s a good idea to keep tissues and hand sanitizer in those spots as well.  You can’t overdose on saline nasal spray so use it regularly throughout the day.

Keep your body well-hydrated as well, especially if you are taking decongestants or antihistamines.  Constant sneezing and blowing your nose also dehydrate you. Keep your water bottle handy and make sure you are refilling it throughout the day. 

  • Steam it up.

A hot bath, long shower or a warm cup of tea or broth can help decrease congestion and soothe your sinuses. Consider getting a warm air humidifier.  I have one for my bedroom at home and one for my office.  Air-conditioners and heaters are both very drying.  If your heating or cooling system is on, so should be your humidifier.  Of course, you’re going to clean it regularly, right?

Trust you’ll be feeling better soon — Lynn

Happy New Year — I’m Back

A new year, new possibilities, new opportunities, new adventures. Evolve. Make more money, be more creative, experience more love and connection. 


I woke up this last morning of 2018 feeling excited and loving feeling that way! A new year, new possibilities, new opportunities, new adventures. Evolve. Make more money, be more creative, experience more love and connection.  Lose weight, find the love of my life, write a cookbook and a country song. Live my best life every day.  And revive my blog.

My new tagline is “Inspiration for living your best life after fifty.” The new Carolina Bon Vivant will be a little different– food and cocktails and travel, of course, but also my tips on looking and feeling one’s best and a little life coaching (because we all need a little life coaching).  What else? Over the last few years, I’ve done a bunch of online dating, read a ton on the topic,  and spent hours discussing it with other 50+ singles.  I’ve developed some expertise and want to give back to the universe by sharing what I’ve learned. If that’s not relevant to all of my readers, I figure they probably know someone to whom it will be.

I’m hoping you are excited about 2019 as well.  Forget resolutions.  What are you going to do to make it your best?

Packing for Spa Day



I am way overdue for a day of indulgence so a couple of weeks ago, a friend and I booked Spa Day Packages at Westglow Spa and Resort in Blowing Rock for this Wednesday.  Westglow is local for us — it’s about 20 minutes from my house — but has an international reputation with awards from Travel & Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler magazines.  Tomorrow is a teaching day for me so I’ll be really busy.  I want to get an early start on Wednesday so I am packing my bag tonight.

The day package I chose includes a massage and lunch, access to the dressing room, pool, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, tennis courts, weight room, and best of all, the fireside relaxation room that looks out over the beautiful Appalachian mountains.  I’ve been there several times when it started snowing.  The scene is always magical. The relaxation room also has tea, juice, fruit, warm cloths, cucumbers for your eyes, cold water flavored with lemon ice cubes and blankets for guests to enjoy.  Doesn’t that all sound lovely?

Westglow offers a variety of classes including yoga, pilates and water aerobics, as well other activities such as a morning hike. The hikes are usually off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Cone Manor, my favorite place to walk.  Weather permitting, my plan is to be there in time for the 9 AM hike, then work out in the weight room for a bit before my late morning massage. After lunch, I’ll doze, read  and journal before the late afternoon meditation and yoga sessions.  A glass of wine at the very end of the day has not been ruled out.

So what do I need to pack?  Westglow provides towels, comfy robes and spa shoes, as well as  luxurious toiletries.  The clothes and other items included here are similar to what I’m packing.  They are mostly from TJ Maxx (like much of my wardrobe!), Sierra Trading Post, and Amazon.  For links to the items, please click over to my Spa Day Pinterest Board.

1. A few toiletries.  Since I have rosacea, the only facial moisturizer I use is Zinco by Rosacea Care.  That, deodorant, comb and hair brush, and lip therapy go into the bag. I generally don’t pack makeup because I feel downright purified at the end of the day and all what I want to do that evening is to continue relaxing at home.

 2.  Active wear for hiking. The forecast for Wednesday morning is for the low forties.  I’ll want my fleece leggings, some warm socks, my hiking shoes, and a fleece base layer with a quilted vest.  I’ve walked enough chilly and windy trails lately to know that gloves and a fleece headband to keep my ears warm are good ideas.  This outfit is what I’ll wear to the spa since hiking is the first activity of the day so no need to pack it.  It is nice to have it all laid out and ready to go though!

This color combination of gray and coral, with a bright pop of blue to top it off makes me happy. I stow the little things I always want on a hike – a pack of kleenex, a hair tie and lip balm — in the pocket of my vest.  This one has lots of pockets so as the morning warms up, there are plenty of places to store my gloves and head band.

3.  My swimsuit.  Because at some point in the day, I will probably swim a few laps in the pool before relaxing in the whirlpool.  I generally prefer tankinis if I’m going to be active or hanging out in my suit for a while, but a one-piece blue-bathing-suit works for spa day.  I want something that is going to stay put while I swim, but is cute and flattering (who knows who else might come in for a massage!)  for the whirlpool or for lounging on the pool deck.
blue-bathing-suit This blue one with slenderizing asymmetrical stripes fits the bill.  No need to bring a cover up or flip flops since I can wear the spa robe and shower shoes.  When I go to the spa in warmer months, sunbathing on the deck outside the relaxation room is a lovely option so I add a bottle of sunblock and a hat to my bag.

4. My book and journal.  The book on my night table is Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth.  The reviews are great but I’ve yet to start reading it.  I am looking forward to reading a few chapters while relaxing by the fire.

My journal comes with me just about everywhere these days.  I’m packing it along with my favorite pen.  And just in case I’m in the mood for something more frivolous, I’m throwing in my new adult coloring book, Paris Street Style, as well as my fancy colored pencils.

5.  Comfortable clothes for yoga and meditation.  Fleece leggings will be too warm for yoga, plus I have been admonished by yoga instructors to wear pants that let you to see your knees!  I’ll wear a long tank with a built-in bra and capris for yoga , then throw on the cowl neck sweater for meditation.  I haven’t been to yoga in ages.  Fortunately the class is usually pretty small and caters to individual levels.  I like to wear yoga socks (aren’t these darling!) and bring my own mat. Because.

Don’t you love the combination of black, navy, gray and my favorite aqua?

fuzzy-merrilsAt the end of the day, I’ll throw the vest on over this outfit, put on my favorite fuzzy Merrells that I’ve packed in my bag, turn on my seat heater and head for home.  Hopefully my son will have built a fire and picked up some sushi takeout for dinner.  I’m looking forward to a fabulous day!

Spinach Salad with Curried Almonds

Seafood, greens, nuts and beans.


Seafood, greens, nuts and beans.  That’s been my mantra this week after listening to this Splendid Table podcast with nutritional psychiatrist Drew Ramsey and food writer David Leite about the link between the stomach and mental health. I’m looking forward to reading Dr. Ramsey’s new book, Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health. The book draws on the  Human Microbiome Project’s research on the link between gut health, allergies and mood. Interesting stuff and possibly a cure for all that ails me.

I went all in with an Indian-inspired dinner last night: pan-seared sadark chocolate candied orangeslmon rubbed with tumeric, coriander, ground ginger and garam masala, tumeric basmati rice, this lovely, fresh Spinach Salad with Curried Almonds, a glass of red wine and my newest guilty pleasure, dark chocolate candied orange slices. While the perfect little dessert treat, they are outrageously expensive.  I’m looking forward to experimenting with making my own.

Spinach Salad with Curried Almonds
For the Curried Almonds:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
For the Spinach Salad:
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons minced chutney
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups diced apple (unpeeled)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil. Pour the butter on to the baking sheet, then add the almonds, then sprinkle with the curry powder, salt and sugar.  Toss to coat the almonds thoroughly, then spread them in a single layer.
  3. Bake the almonds for around 20 minutes, stirring about every 5.
  4. Cool the almonds completely, then scrape everything from the foil on to a cutting board and roughly chop.
  5. In a small bowl,  whisk together the apple cider vinegar and vegetable oil.  Whisk in the yogurt, chutney, sugar, curry powder and dry mustard.
  6. Add the spinach, apple, raisins,green onions and almonds to a large salad bowl.  Drizzle with the dressing and toss thoroughly to combine.
Yield: 6-8 side servings
Cook time: 20 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Be sure to use good quality, fresh spices! The curry powder I used for the sweet and spicy almonds was my favorite Frontier Indian Curry spice blend — lots of flavor and not too fiery. For the dressing, I used Spicy Plum Chutney from The Virginia Chutney CompanyMajor Grey’s mango chutney would work fine here, but you may want to add a pinch of cayenne or some black pepper to balance the sweetness.


Orlando Bourbon

I wasn’t much looking forward to my three day trip to Orlando. I’m kinda done with traveling alone. While I would know one person at the conference at which I was presenting — my co-author — that was likely going to be it. After days on end of gray mountain skies, the promise of sunshine appealed to my vitamin D deprived self but I’ve been to central Florida often enough this time of year to know that it is never as warm as you hope it will be. And did I mention that I loathe the plastic that is Disney?  In the end, I had a lovely weekend, met some nice people, got a little sun and drank some great bourbon.

I can only aspire to be a knowledgeable bourbon taster. Jack and water was a favorite during my twenties, but after I quit drinking during my pregnancies in my early thirties, I found that I’d pretty much lost my taste for much of any kind of hard liquor. A few dates with a old-school Southern gent changed all that. We drank Manhattans in the lounge at Eseeola and Old Fashioneds at the Fowl Play Pub, and sneaked his flask of Makers Mark into the John Prine concert. Now, I’m sippin’ and mixin’ up all kinds of things and learning lots in the process.

Night one was dinner with my co-author at Ragland Road, an Irish pub near our hotel in Disney Springs (known until recently as Downtown Disney). Ragland Road promised lively music, good food, and and an array of libations.  The pub was busy and loud, and there were no seats at the bar so we opted to dine on the patio, even though it was a little chilly, which is what drove me to order a flight of bourbons and set in motion my Orlando bourbon drinking adventure.  I should have ordered Irish whisky  as we were in an Irish pub, but in my rush to get a shot of something to warm me up, I went for the Kentucky variety:

Orphan Barrel Kentucky Bourbon Series
Barterhouse 20 yr | Rhetoric 20 yr | Old Blowhard 26 yr

My flight included generous tastings, all of which I enjoyed.  I seem to have been spoiled by my favorite bottle of Michter’s though. They were all good sippin’ whiskies, but even my clear favorite of the three, the Rhetoric, didn’t thrill me as much as smoky toasted barrel Michter’s.

Night two was solo-dining at  The Rusty Spoon in downtown Orlando. Owner and Chef Kathleen Black is a semi-finalist for this year’s James Beard Best Chef: Southeast award. I’m not going to write about her fabulous food here as it deserves a post all its own!  I’d initially made a reservation for early in the evening, but cancelled because it conflicted with the conference reception — just as well as I prefer to sit at the bar when I am dining alone.  I couldn’t resist ordering this from their  great selection:

The Kentucky RedBulleitt Bourbon, Ginger Syrup, Averna, Orange Bitters & Fresh Lemon

And it was fabulous — the clear winner of the three night’s samplings. Bulleitt bourbon, one of my favorites, with ginger and orange bitters?  Yes, please.  I was not familiar with Averna, but I’ll be going out shopping for some of this divine little Italian liqueur.

Night three was dinner at Todd English’s bluezoo with a new friend.  Their cocktail menu included several tempting barrel-aged favorites.  The Moscow Mule and the Boulevardier both sounded fabulous.  Ultimately, we each ordered this:


circa 1870, new york. our manhattan starts with a classic recipe of four roses small batch bourbon, dolin vermouth, and bitters.  it is then aged in an oak barrel until we deem ready. the cocktail you will enjoy is one of the smoothest manhattans made.  garnished with brandied cherries.
Delicious, elegant, everything a Manhattan should be.  No regrets.



Sloppy Joe Sliders

sloppy joe slider

On my drive south from the mountains to my favorite little creek in Lower Alabama a couple of days ago,  I  entertained myself listening to podcasts via my Stitcher app. Two of the podcasts, including this Bon Appetit piece on retro comfort foods, talked about our nostalgia for the foods we grew up eating.  Our favorites. Dishes served for special occasions. Mom’s or Dad’s specialty. The podcast offered updated versions of meatloaf (I will be adding the bacon braid to mine),  grilled cheese sandwiches (I tried the mayo and grated cheese tricks today and loved the outcome), and tuna casserole (I’ll probably still pass), among others.  At my house it was fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  I suspect that each of my three sisters would answer the same.  That, and the oatmeal cake topped with coconut, brown sugar and pecans which I still beg my mom to make for my birthdays.

I’m not sure what my boys will ultimately pick as their nostalgia foods…  probably my slaw. Maybe Chicken Parmesan, maybe pan-fried catfish, maybe these Sloppy Joe Sliders…

Sloppy Joe Sliders


  • 1 1/3 pounds ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed to remove excess moisture
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (and yeah, it needs to be Heinz)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 table spoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cholula hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme plus extra for garnish
  • 8 slider buns
  1. Brown the ground meat or turkey in a large skillet over medium high heat, using a spatula to break it up. When you are sure the meat is thoroughly browned, dump it in a colander to drain the extra fat.
  2. Wipe out the skillet, and heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Saute the onions, celery and carrots until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini to the pan and saute until any moisture has cooked off, then add the garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the meat back to the pan, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Then, stir in the ketchup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, hot sauce and thyme.
  5. Stir in 1/2 cup water and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. Toast the slider buns, top each bottom bun with the meat and garnish each plate with a sprig of thyme.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
I must have a fresh bag of crispy potato chips with my sloppy joe — a little extra salt, a bit of crunch for a contrasting texture. If you are looking for something healthier, a little lightly dressed broccoli slaw works well too.


Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese


Winter in the mountains is long and cold and requires copious amounts of comfort food. We are having spring-like weather this week, a lovely treat, but I know better than to think we won’t have another blizzard or two before it really warms up. This time of year though, I do start thinking about favorite winter comfort foods that I have not yet made this season.  This recipe for Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese is one of those. Not to say that the dish wouldn’t make a great side for 4th of July BBQ or a Thanksgiving potluck.

This recipe is inspired by the smoked gouda mac and cheese served at Crave, a now defunct tapas place here in Boone that was once our spot for family celebrations.  My version is based on one that I found in a Special Collector’s Edition of All-Time Best Recipes, published by Cook’s Illustrated.  Their suggestion that you cook the mac and cheese on the stove, then just put it under the broiler to brown the bread crumbs is right on if you want crunchy topping, tender pasta and creamy sauce.
Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

  • 1 pound Cavatappi pasta
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Cholula hot sauce
  • 8 ounces Smoked Gouda cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup Panko
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil in a dutch oven over high heat.  Stir in the pasta and tablespoon of salt.  Cook according to package directions (about 8 minutes) until just past al dente so that it is a bit tender.
  2. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  3. Return the dutch oven to medium heat.  Melt the butter, then whisk in the flour.  Cook the flour for about 1 minute, making a blond roux.
  4. Slowly whisk in one cup of milk, stirring constantly until all the lumps are dissolved.
  5. Whisk in the remaining milk, dry mustard, cayenne, and hot sauce.
  6. Turn up the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly and bringing to a gentle boil so it will thicken properly.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and reduces to a heavy cream.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheeses, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and black pepper.
  9. Add the pasta back to the pot, stirring gently to combine.
  10. Return the pot to medium low heat.  Cook, stirring frequently, until hot.
  11. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat the broiler.
  12.  Spray a 9 X 13 glass or ceramic baking dish (or 10 ramekins) with olive oil cooking spray.
  13. Mix together the Panko and olive oil.
  14. Pour the macaroni and cheese into the pan and sprinkle evenly with the bread crumbs.
  15. Broil until the topping is deep golden brown, 3-5 minutes, rotating the pan if necessary so that the bread crumbs brown evenly.
Yield: 10-12 side servings
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
The Smoked Gouda adds big flavor to the mac and cheese while the Monterey Jack adds a creaminess you can’t get from using the Smoked Gouda alone. I used Cavatappi pasta rather than ordinary macaroni because I wanted to make it a little fancier.  I’ve given up trying to make the dish with the Barilla-plus pasta I usually use.  It may have more protein, fiber and Omega-3s, but the texture just doesn’t work for mac and cheese. 

Bon Appétit

Paté de Campagne

pate de compagne platter
Paté de Campagne was not something I grew up eating in south Mississippi in the seventies.  I discovered the joys of  country paté when I moved to New Orleans after college, and regularly indulged thanks to  Martin Wine Cellar‘s deli. Then I discovered that George, most everyone’s favorite Southern Yacht Club bartender, made paté.   He called all the unmarried ladies “Isabelle”, likely to avoid calling a member’s Saturday night date by his Friday night’s date’s name.   He replaced your “red drink”– a slushy concoction of fruit punch and rum — with another before you’d finished your first, delivering each with a playfully suggestive remark that only you could hear.  He made his patés at Christmas time, delivering delicious savory bread-loaf sized terrines wrapped tightly in foil to his customers.  For years, he’d ask in his Greek accent “when you gonna come over to make paté with me, Isabelle?” everytime I saw him.  As much as I wanted to learn to make paté, I got the idea that George’s wife would not be thrilled to find me in her kitchen.
That was about 30 years ago.  Over the years, I’ve made many smooth chicken liver patés, but never attempted a country-style terrine.  After looking at a number of recipes, I decided to use Ruhlman‘s recipe published in  Charcuterie, and also available online at the Splendid Table.  I was a little wary of his spice mixture, especially compared to some of the other recipes I had considered, so I did a little research and found that Ruhlman’s recipe is a variation of the traditional Quatre épices of white pepper, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  The spice mixture should be varied to suit your taste — I toned down the white pepper a bit because I am not a big fan, and limited the cinnamon to accentuate the savory.  I modified the meats — substituting bacon for some of Ruhlman’s pork butt — based on availability and was very pleased with the resulting flavor and texture.
Paté de Campagne
For the Paté Spice:
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Paté de Campagne: 
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1/2 pound bacon, sliced crossways into 1/2–inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, cut into1/2-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped onion
  • 1/2 pound chicken livers
  • 8 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon Paté Spice
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Calvados brandy
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. Put the blades and all parts of your grinding attachment along with your bowls in the freezer.
  2. Combine the spices, mix well, and store in an airtight container.
  3. Spread the pork butt and bacon in a single layer on baking sheets and put them in the freezer.
  4. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the butter.
  5. Swirl the butter around the skillet, add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  7. Assemble your meat grinder with the large die.
  8. Fill a large bowl with ice and set a smaller cold bowl inside.
  9. Grind the pork and bacon through the large die into the bowl immersed in ice.
  10. Take 1/3 of the mixture and move it to a separate large bowl and add the onion, liver, parsley, salt, pepper and Paté Spice.  Mix the spices into the meats using your hands.
  11. Fit the grinder with the small die and grind the pork, liver and spice mixture into the bowl of more coarsely ground pork.
  12. Quickly make your panade by whisking together the flour, eggs, brandy, and cream.  Using the paddle attachment on your blender, mix the panade into your meat mixture to bind it.
  13. Fold in the mushrooms.
  14. Do a quenelle test or fry a small piece of the mixture to check seasonings and adjust if needed.
  15. Line a 1 1/2 quart terrine mold with plastic wrap.  Leave enough overlap on the two long sides to fold the plastic over the terrine after you’ve filled it.
  16. Put the terrine in a high-sided roasting pan.  Place the pan in the oven in the oven, then add hot water until the terrine is half-submerged.
  17. Bake until the interior of the paté reaches 160 degrees — between 1 and 2 hours.
  18. Remove the terrine from the oven (and water bath).  Set a 2 pound weight on top.  Let cool to room temperature, the refrigerate overnight or until completely chilled.
Yield: 10-12 appetizer servings
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1-2 hours
Total time:15 hours
pate de compagne
I like my paté served very simply with crusty bread, grainy mustard and tart and crisp cornichons.

Blogging 101

There is rarely a perfect time to do anything.

Dusk on the Parkway

There is rarely a perfect time to do anything.

My nest is emptying — I’ll be depositing my older son at college for his freshman year in about 10 days.  Between his lovely petite amie and rowdy bro-pack, my younger son is gone as often as he is home.

So while I am not spending a lot of tiBoone Golf Clubme meal planning and cooking dinner, I’m busy doing a lot of freelance editorial work, cranking out pubs in anticipation  of going up for Full Professor in the Fall, planning work/ play trips to Chicago and France over the next couple of months, dating regularly, learning to golf, hiking a couple of times a week and hanging out/ staying in touch with my girlfriends, old and new,  here, at the lake and beyond.

So nocone manor carriage trail, this does not seem to be the perfect time to dive back into blogging. Over the last few weeks though, I’ve felt faint stirrings of those compulsions that drove me to publish actively and passionately on my old blog, Another Marvelous Meal (AMM), for several years.  Admittedly, there were a lot of other things going on in my life at that time that drove me into that blog.  Suffice it to say that when you are in serious denial about the state of your relationship and life, and have hunkered down into survival mode to protect your children, writing a food blog about Happy Family Dinners can be a useful coping mechanism.  While AMM still gets tons of page views daily and has these inexplicable spurts in Facebook follower growth, I can’t go back there.  Hence this “new” blog which has limped along over the past couple of years.

I love the concept of Carolina Bon Vivant — living the good life here in the Carolinas. It’s Charcuterie Rhubarb April 2015not that I’ve not been doing that — I’ve just been lazy, inhibited, distracted, and generally unmotivated to blog until recently.  But now, I’m beginning to again find delight in photographing food and my surroundings, joy in cooking and creating recipes, adventure and passion in my kitchen adventures.

So despite it not being the perfect time to begin again,  I’ve signed up for Blogging 101 for the month of August and look forward to making time to write, photograph and edit, freeing myself from the self-imposed need to create, test, style, photograph and publish recipes and  spend the month enjoying sharing my good life.