Blogging 101

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.

Summertime & the living is easy

There is so much to love about summer meals — savoring the abundance of fresh seasonal produce, grilling on the deck at the end of the day, dining  al fresco and lingering at the table, sipping crisp whites and rosés. We spent this weekend at the lake so I stopped at Josh’s Farmers Market on my way out of Mooresville yesterday and bought bags of (mostly) local fruits and vegetables — strawberries, tomatoes, peaches, new potatoes, summer squash and zucchini. I’ve planned my meals for the week around those bags!

roseMy new grill is going to get a workout this week.   I’m encouraging the boys to  learn to grill but lately the weather has been so lovely that I’ve done it myself — relaxing on the deck with a glass of wine while I wait for the grill to heat up, then another while I cook.  With the long days this time of year, we eat a little later.  The early evening light is my favorite of the day and I relish being outside to enjoy it.  Its been a little cooler than usual lately so we sometimes need our hoodies to be comfortable eating outside, but I pretty much insist unless it is pouring down rain!

On Friday night, I’m hosting my first dinner party in ages.  I’m taking a chance on a new grilled chicken recipe from this month’s Food and WineFive-herb Grilled Chicken with Green Aioli.  I used to make new recipes for dinner guests all the time, but haven’t in quite a while now.  The rest of the meal includes all long-standing summertime favorites so if the chicken isn’t fabulous, it should still be a great meal.

My plans are to use up all that great produce and grill every night:

Monday – grilled chicken and summer vegetable tostadas, black beans, guacamole

Tuesday – grilled salmon with herbed butter compound, basmati rice, zucchini and tomato gratin

Wednesday- bacon avocado burgers, baked beans, grilled corn on the cob

Thursday – caesar salad with grilled shrimp

Friday – five-herb grilled chicken with green aioli, minty roasted potatoes, marinated tomato salad, white chocolate blueberry bread pudding

Later this week I’ll be posting about some of my favorite rosés — perfect wine for the season!

New Beginnings

Welcome to Carolina Bon Vivant!

Up until about a year ago,  I blogged about meal planning, family dinners and other culinary adventures at  Another Marvelous Meal.  At the point that I quit posting to AMM, I was busy confronting some pretty unpleasant realities and dealing with a potentially disastrous transition from seemingly-happy-family-of-four to single-mom-with-two-teenaged- boys.  A year on, I am relieved that we have a new normal that is not all that different from the old.  We still have family dinner almost every night and Meatless Mondays most weeks.  I don’t meal plan nearly as thoroughly as I once did, but there’s food in the fridge and no one is starving.  When I really don’t feel like cooking, I drag the boys into the kitchen and we all make dinner together.  They are not exactly enthusiastic, but they have learned some basic skills for which I am sure they will one day thank me.  And I’ve made the difficult decision to start over with a new blog for a variety of reasons discussed at great length with my therapist.

Carolina Bon Vivant is about moving on and enjoying the good life in the Carolinas. I’ll still be blogging about family dinners, entertaining and culinary adventures. But there will also be more restaurant reviews and posts about weekend getaways, road trips, shopping,  hiking trails, drives and vistas, farmer’s markets and roadside stands, events and festivals, some decorating tips and whatever else strikes my fancy.  First up will be a couple of posts tagged Quick and Easy — Brandy Milk Punch for Two, followed by Shrimp and Grits for Two.  In the next month or so, I’m planning reviews of Knife & Fork — a wonderful little restaurant in Spruce Pine — and a cool new spot here in Boone, the Appalachian Mountain Brewery.  We’ll be taking road trips to Memphis, Oxford and the Mississippi Delta and to Beaufort and Fripps Island in South Carolina .  I’ll also be writing about making Irish bacon and posting about  a few new family favorites including great recipes for Kung Pao Chicken and Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce.

I hope you join me!

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