Category Archives: Local Focus

Pros and Cons of a CSA

Last summer I joined a CSA for the first time. If you are not familiar with what a CSA is, check out my guest post at Becoming Crunchy! I share my experience with the CSA we joined last summer, as well as pros and cons so you can figure out if joining one would be a good fit for your family.

If you read the post and decide a CSA sounds like a great choice for you, you can check out Greenbrier Farms!

Be sure to check out the rest of the Becoming Crunchy site, too! I always enjoy the posts there and am frequently inspired to live better! She makes appearances in my Sunday Surf’s often and she wrote a guest post here not too long ago. You can start with some of my favorite posts:

Why I Chose Baby Led Weaning: 4 Personal Reasons

Getting Rid of the Garbage

A Garden Made of Straw

Moving Away from Household Toxins- an Update


Henry’s Smokehouse

Back in my highschool and college days I worked at Henry’s Smokehouse. And it pretty much ruined me for barbecue anywhere else. Yep, it’s that good. I don’t even bother ordering barbecue from anywhere else because I am ALWAYS met with disappointment if I do.

What makes Henry’s barbecue so special? Well, for starters they cook in open barbecue pits with hickory logs to lock in that fantastic hickory flavor. (Drive by and you’ll see the smoke coming out of the building for yourself.) They cook the pork butts for 12 hours in low temperature and their fall-off-the-bone ribs for over 8 hours. But the special treatment doesn’t stop there; once the pork is cooked, the meat is hand-pulled so only the best meat is chosen.

Now let’s talk about their sauces. I’m personally not a fan of tomato- or ketchup-based sauces and I like some spice. Enter Henry’s Spicy sauce. It’s a mustard-based sauce with a little kick and it’s delicious. I’m told by others that the Mild, tomato-based sauce is good but I haven’t actually tried it.

Besides their signature pulled pork barbecue, they also have smoked chicken, ribs, hash and rice and Brunswick stew. I’m a fan of all of these items. When I worked there the only sides offered were baked beans, slaw, fries and rice. (The fries are phenomenal and I used to eat these quite a bit with the special sauce one of my co-workers made sprinkled with Henry’s special garlic salt or dipped in the malt vinegar.) They have since added green beans, potato salad, sweet potato casserole, banana pudding and mac and cheese.

The first item at Henry’s I ever tasted was actually the hash. Being from Southern California originally, I had never even heard of hash but I’ve always said I would try anything once. I’m glad I did. It’s delicious, spicy, meaty yumminess. I have since forgotten what all is in it but I do know it is good.

The Brunswick stew is my go-to on a cold, winter day. The smoked chicken is great chopped with some spicy sauce and slaw. The ribs are extremely tender and seriously come right off the bone. The baked beans are sweet and delicious. And the lemon cake is moist and, well, lemony. But the best, of course, is the incredibly delicious pork barbecue. Seriously. Go get some. And try it with slaw on it even if you think that sounds gross…because it’s not.


1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast

To celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary, my husband and I booked a one night stay at the 1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC. We had been passively looking for a while for a bed and breakfast that would allow children as most will not. Thankfully, the Blake House does and also welcomes pets, too which would have been really nice if we still had a dog.

The accommodations are lovely, but instead of my describing them all to you, I thought I’d show you our room instead. You can see in the last picture in the far left corner, there was even a little twin bed for our daughter to sleep in.


Ode to Mom at Greenbrier Farms

Do you have a mom in your life that enjoys local food? I have the perfect Mother’s Day gift for her then! Greenbrier Farms is putting on a spring harvest dinner called “An Ode to Mom”. I know I’d love to go (hint, hint if my husband is reading this. ;))

On the menu will be ingredients all from Greenbrier Farms, except for the cheese which will come from Split Creek Farm. What mom wouldn’t enjoy some fresh and delicious farm-to-table fare?

The event itself is casual so mom and can sit back and relax. As Amy from Greenbrier Farms tells me, “It is all about the food and time together. Nothing pretentious or fussy.”

The meal will be served family style in their beautiful barn area that overlooks the pond and farm. Amy says, “The idea is to pay homage to Mother’s Day and also Mother Nature and the bounty she has provided.” She assures me though, “You don’t have to be a mom to come; it is just a tribute to those things.”

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, tickets are $75 a person. Hurry and RSVP because there are only 50 seats available! You can RSVP to amy@greenbrierfarms.com. There’s also a Facebook invite you can check out. Cash and check are accepted.


The Magic of Honey

Honey comb02

Image via Wikipedia

I am now a contributor over at The Sweet Potato, the blog for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA). What is CFSA all about? From their website:

CFSA helps people in the Carolinas grow and eat local, organic foods by advocating for fair farm and food policies, building the systems family farms need to thrive, and educating and organizing farmers and the communities they serve.

My first post is up on all the wonderfulness that is local, raw honey! I talk about the benefits and why you should get local and raw as opposed to industrialized honey.


Sunday Surf for week of March 20

I got carried away again this week so we have another mega links Sunday Surf.

Food and Recipes

Celebrating 20,000 Hits: Interview with Christine Ortiz of “Milk & Honey Organics” – For those in the upstate SC area, check out this interview. I have tried out this service yet but really want to and found the interview interesting.

Bacon Irish Soda Bread – Unusual bread recipe

Making Lunchtime Fun: Muffin Tin Meals! – I’ve heard of this idea before and love it but still have yet to implement it. Guess I’m just lazy?? I even have a nibble tray so I’m set. Maybe this week will be THE week.

Seriously Eating II: 94 Recipes from Serious Eats’ Healthy and Delicious Column – The title says it all

Dehydrating the Days Away – Funny post about dehydrating food. I have good memories of my parents doing this when I was a kid, especially my dad’s beef jerky.

Finding Better Health Through a Traditional Diet – Another great post from Natural Parents Network about what a traditional, real food diet is

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins – A friend brought me muffins like these after I had my daughter and they were fantastic!

Easy Breakfast and Lunch Ideas – Loved all these ideas!

Healthier Nachos and Green Brown Rice - I have never heard of green rice before. I totally want to try this.

Miscarriage

The Other Side – Sad story, recounting mourning with a friend through her miscarriage

Sound Bites from a Miscarriage Journey – Having been through miscarriage myself, I can truly relate to and appreciate this post

Moms Supporting Other Moms

Please Think Before You Comment – A mom of a nursing toddler gives some thoughtful advice

Let’s All Try Not to Be Jerks – Great post about how moms need to support each other

Lactivism, Breast Feeding, Bottle Feeding, Formula And Mothers At War - This one goes hand-in-hand with the “Please Think Before you Comment” post above

Childbirth

Birth Without Fear Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be Scared – Although I can honestly say that birth did not scare me, I really, really liked this post a lot.

An Alternative To Perineal Massage For Childbirth Prep – Good info to keep in mind for my next pregnancy

One Response to ‘Eww! Birth is Icky!’ Squeamishness – I really appreciated this post about birth, sex and breastfeeding.

Parenting

Feeding to Sleep - My sentiments exactly!

Attachment Parenting Series: Beware of Baby Trainers – Some solid information that explains this “Baby B” of the AP style

Carseats – Lots of great links and info about the recommendations for rear-facing and booster seats

Shepherding a Child’s Heart: a review by Anne Sokol - Great review on the reasons this book is concerning

Eco-friendly Stuff

Sarah’s Stitches Wet Bags - I hadn’t heard of Sarah’s Stitches before and enjoyed learning about them in this review

Homemade Cleaning Spray – Good stuff and piggybacks nicely with my green spring cleaning tips!

Check out Adventures in Mommyhood, Authentic Parenting, Baby Dust Diaries, ChildOrganics,Cloth Diapering Mama, Fabulous Mama Chronicles, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama and Baby Love, Mama Eve, Maman A Droit, Momma Jorje, Monkey Butt Junction, Motherhood Moments, My Inspired Baby, Navelgazing, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


Yellow Elm Headband Winner


Danielle, #29, is the lucky winner of the Yellow Elm Baby Headband!

Thanks to all of you who entered! We had 51 entries in all.

Danielle blogs at The Knapp Family and her favorite headband was the Claire Felt Headband.

Claire Felt Headband, Danielle's Favorite!


High Cotton Restaurant Review

This was originally posted on Check, Please (which is now Melea Talks Food) the day after I had Marcella, March 23, 2009.

Saturday night my husband and I decided to squeeze in one last date night before our baby girl arrives (due date, this Sunday!) so we thought we would check out High Cotton. It was a rainy night so we opted for the complimentary valet parking and checked our coats and then we were off to our table. We had to go downstairs for our table (although I was offered the elevator because of my “condition” which I declined). Our table had a wonderful view of the Reedy River and also a view of the kitchen.

The staff was superb. Our server was very knowledgeable and professional. We were served warm rolls with butter which were okay, not anything special but not bad either. Josh decided to go with a cup of that nights Chef’s Selection soup which was Maine Lobster Bisque ($5) described simply as “buttery lobster meat, scallions”. It smelled delicious but was bland unfortunately.

 

For my entrée I ordered the Bourbon Glazed Eden Farms Pork Chop ($25) which was served with jalapeño cheddar grits, fried green tomatoes and country ham scallion jus. The grits were very creamy and delicious! I wouldn’t have known they had jalapeno in them if I hadn’t been told, though so, for me, they could have had more of a kick. The fried green tomatoes were excellent! The pork was quite good. They cook it medium unless you specific otherwise and it was as tender as a steak. It was a little too salty for me so I didn’t finish it, but Josh, who loves salt, gobbled up what I didn’t finish.

My husband ordered one of the Chef’s Selections of the night for his entrée, the Skillet Seared Striped Bass ($25). This was served with blacked eyed pea ragout, cornmeal fried oysters and sweet pepper relish. He said the oysters were wonderful and were worth ordering the dish just based on them alone. He isn’t a big fan of black eyed peas so didn’t eat all of those but he finished off the bass which he said was quite good. He said if he had to choose, he preferred the pork but both were very good.

We couldn’t leave without trying out their desserts. They all priced at $7.50 except for the Domestic Cheese Selection which is $11. My husband ordered the Double Chocolate Mousse Pie (white & dark chocolate mousse, Oreo cookie crust, milk chocolate anglaise) which was delightful. I ordered the Domestic Cheese Selection (yes, this was on the dessert menu, not an appetizer) which consisted of 1 piece each of Humbolt Fog, Thomasville Tomme, Marisa and Smokey Blue and was served with 4 toast points, fig jam and 3 slivers of pear and candied walnuts. The fig jam was the perfect complement to the bitterness of the cheeses. I was asked if I would like additional toast points when I had finished all of them and still had cheese left which I declined but thought was nice all the same.

All in all, we would rate it a 3 out of 5, only because the soup was bland, the bread was just okay and the prices were a bit high for the amount of food. We enjoyed our experience, all in all and would recommend it for a nice night out.


Women of Acts

I’ve had the privilege of attending 2 of the 3 Women of Acts events here in Greenville, SC. March 7th is their 4th event and I hope to be able to attend! If you are not familiar with this ministry, let me tell you about it! From the website:

Women had a significant role in the formation of New Testament Church. You remember

Tabitha (Dorcas) was a woman who helped clothe the widows and was ultimately raised from the dead.

Priscilla and Aquilla were there to help Paul and even exhorted Apollos in their layperson ministry.

Lydia was wealthy business woman who the Lord used to minister to Paul and Silas.

Keri from The Grace Post and her friend Kylee got this idea that they should get together and do something to help out in the community and help those in full-time ministry, just like the ladies of the New Testament did. That is when Women of Acts was born. More from the website:

We decided to get some Christian women in our community together for a girls night out. But it was not going to be an ordinary night at the coffee shop. We would not only enjoy chatting, coffee, and dessert but we would be joining together for a common purpose.

We are trying to put action behind our faith. Working to follow the example of the ladies who helped Paul in the early church. We hope to be modern Women of Acts.

The first event took place on April 19, 2010. Anne Sokol was the speaker. She shared her heart for the midwifery profession and her desire to help the people of Ukraine (where she ministers alongside her husband) to have safer more satisfying births. There was delicious food and coffee and we all ministered to Anne is various ways (writing notes of encouragements, donating to her ministry).

The second event raised funds and encouragement for Sarah Hudson. She is a veteran missionary who was home on furlough. The encouragement tree was filled with prayers and scripture for her to take home with her to Vienna.

The third event was a new shoe party for the children of Greenville county schools. A shoe registry was set up on the website and people signed up for specific children and brought their new shoes to the event. 33 shoes were collected and distributed to those in need! Money was also collected to pay for the physical needs of children in Greenville County. More delicious food and fellowship and Christian women coming together to provide hope.

The fourth event is a coupon challenge in conjunction with a food drive! You can find out more by watching this video and checking out their Facebook page. March 7th I hope to see some of you there! The event is being held at the Candleberry Inn in Greer.


Yellow Elm: Giveaway!

Lisa Felt Headband

My first Yellow Elm product came from my mom. She bought my daughter a headband for her Candyland birthday party. I’ve been in love ever since! I have baby headbands, baby clips and clips and headbands for me, too! That’s why I’m so excited to offer a giveaway to celebrate 5,000 hits from Yellow Elm to share their wonderful products with you all, too! Scroll down to the bottom to check out the beautiful baby headband I’m giving away and to see how to win! (PS: Yellow Elm is local, too if you live in the Upstate of SC!)

I interviewed Yellow Elm owner Elizabeth Blanton to give you some more information about Yellow Elm straight from the source!

What gave you the idea for Yellow Elm and how did you get started?

I learned how to felt in a fiber arts class I took as an elective in college and immediately fell in love with the process. After making some large felt wall-hangings for the class, I used some leftover felt to make brooches as gifts for my friends and got a great response, so after college I decided to make more wearable art and see what happened with it. There has been a huge trend recently in crafts and handmade items and I’m so excited to be a part of that.

What do you love most about the pieces you make?

I love the uniqueness of each piece. I can never make two pieces exactly alike, so everyone who wears Yellow Elm can truly know they have an accessory that no one else has.

Baby Brooke Barrette

What’s your favorite collection?

My favorite is usually what I’m working on at the moment. I’ve just started making small brooches with beads on top in soft spring colors, and those are my favorites right now.

Do you have plans for any other products besides headbands and brooches?

Yes definitely! Jewelry, purses, hats, and scarves are all possibilities for future products. I’m working on a vintage line of headbands and brooches as well that I’m pretty excited about.

Do you prefer selling on etsy or selling to stores?

I love both for different reasons. It’s always fantastic to find a shop that is the perfect fit for Yellow Elm and I really enjoy working with shop owners to get just the right Yellow Elm pieces in their stores. I am so glad to have an etsy shop as well because I can reach so many people with the internet–people all over the world.

Do you have a favorite fellow etsy artist?

So many great choices I could never pick just one! I keep my “favorites” page on my etsy shop pretty current and always mark a favorite shop or item.

A Little Bit of All of It is giving away this precious baby headband!

headband1

Yellow Elm Baby Headband

It is a baby headband with a soft blue piece of felt on a bright blue fabric band, with a black & polka dot fabric button and some simple baby blue embroidery.

How to Enter

There are 5 ways to enter. You can do 1, a couple or all of them. Obviously the more you do, the better your chances of winning are. I’ll draw a winner randomly using random.org on March 17th! The winner will be contacted via email.

  1. “Like” A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook and come back and leave a comment here that you did with your FB name.
  2. Go to Yellow Elm’s etsy store and come back and leave a comment with the name of your favorite piece.
  3. “Like” Yellow Elm on Facebook and come back and leave a comment here that you did with your FB name.
  4. Subscribe to the Yellow Elm blog and leave a comment here that you did.
  5. Subscribe to this blog and leave a comment here that you did. (To subscribe, see the top righthand corner of the blog.)

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