Buttermilk and Blogging



I feel like I’m falling into a nice posting rhythm this summer. I give you a little intro, then a handful of recipes. We talk about what’s coming out of our gardens and what farmers are bringing to their market tables. It’s all making my brain and my tastebuds and my tummy very happy.

So forgive me for a moment as I diverge. Not too far, mind you. I’m still linking four recipes in this post, all dishes featuring the buttermilk made by my wonderful local dairy, Homestead Creamery.

But along with the good eating, I’ve got a website matter to discuss. It’s the issue of this blog’s tiny, incremental success. Every day there are a few more followers. Each week, the number of folks who stop by is growing. And for that I am so, so grateful.

As part of this upward momentum, there is a phenomenon known as blogger to blogger awards. They are a way for bloggers to support other bloggers they enjoy reading and want to help. The first of these awards is called a Liebster Award. It’s given to newish bloggers trying to increase their reader base and reach more people.


I have actually been nominated for this award twice now, once, a year ago, by the generous and knowledgable Becky Ellis, whose blog, BubblyBee, highlights top champagne and wine. She has taught me so much about what to pour into my stemware.

I was nominated again, this spring, by Brenda Wyatt, a new blogger herself, writing about food, gardening and travel from Birmingham, AL. Read her posts at Camellia’s Cottage.

Let me thank these lovely ladies for their encouragement and support.

Now, I’m going to circle back to tell you all about my buttermilk adventures. After that, find answers to 11 questions that Camellia’s Cottage asked me. Plus a list of 10 bloggers I’m hoping to give a bit of a boost to.

Okay, buttermilk. Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought Homestead Creamery’s glass-bottled milk (or another local dairy in your corner of the world)? Did you know they also bottle heavy whipping cream (great for making your own butter)? And half gallons of buttermilk?

When I’m in the market for some buttermilk, that’s how I do it. I pick up a half-gallon of thick tangy goodness that then sits in my fridge, begging me to bake. First, I typically make a batch of biscuits. Then, I mix some Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. Before the week is out, a plate of Perfect Pancakes is sure to find its way to the table. And likely I stir up a scone recipe or two. By then, my buttermilk is just about gone. And my family and I are feeling pretty satisfied. How about you? What do you make with buttermilk?

Alright. Now, back to this Liebster Award. Here are my answers to Camellia Cottage’s questions:

What is your favorite Southern city?

— Chapel Hill, in my native state of North Carolina. It was my home for four years of undergrad and the town next door for seven years when I lived and worked in Durham, N.C. Plus, there is so much great food to be eaten in Chapel Hill.

Two things, what is the hallmark of a southern lady and the distinguishing mark of a southern gentleman?

This is a tough one for me. I am anything but a Southern lady and I have married anything but a Southern gentleman. Call me a feminist with a complicated Southern heritage married to a sweet, sensitive, displaced Yankee.

What is the most difficult thing for you to do as you post your blog?

The self-promotion part. It’s not really in my DNA.

List 3 things on your personal bucket list.

— I want to hike a big piece of the Appalachian Trail with my family, spend a good chunk of one summer living in the Irish countryside, and someday, finally finish my house renovations!

My favorite beach in Alabama is the white sugah’ sands of Orange Beach- what is your favorite beach- it can where you live or have visited elsewhere.

— North Carolina’s Outer Banks, hands down.

List 3 of your favorite things …

— Mornings in the garden. Snuggles with my kids (even though they’re now 8, 12 and 14). And a tasty dinner of local food eaten on my patio.

What inspires you on a daily basis, whether you blog about it or not

— The hard work of the farmers who grow my food, the artistry of the chefs who cook the special food I enjoy and my husband, who is also my kitchen- and garden-mate.

Do you prefer ‘sweet’ or ‘unsweet’ iced tea?

— I have never been a tea drinker. Hand me a locally-brewed kombucha!

Tell me 5 things about yourself that you want others to know.

  1.  I LOVE local food!
  2. I believe cooking dinner is one of the most important things we can do to stay fit and keep sane, to fight climate change and make our world a place we want to live.
  3. My five backyard chickens keep me on my toes and give me the best eggs.
  4. Even though I live in Southwest Virginia, where winter is very real, I love that I can eat something out of my garden all year long.
  5. I’m so excited to watch where the culinary world’s interest in Appalachian cuisine will go.

What is the most challenging aspect of blogging so far?

See Question No. 3.

Give me your 3 best tips for creating a great blog post.

— Write something readers want to read. Fact-check everything you write. Read your post aloud after you’re through to catch typos and confusing sentences.

Now 10 blogs I’d like to spotlight. These are mostly relative newcomers to the blogging world who would very much like you to swing by and check out their work if you’re so inclined.

A mother and son team based in Virginia cook up delish dishes worthy of a chef — oh wait, Brandon is a chef. Check out Culinary Envy when you’re ready to whip up something guest-worthy.

Find fabulous photos, fantastic recipes and fun restaurant reviews at  A Tasty Life.

The Farmers in the Dell showcases recipes, musings, stunning photos and a sketch of life on a New England farm.

On The He Said She Said Experience you’ll find fashion, theater, restaurant reviews in the D.C. area by co-bloggers, He said and She said.

Will Garden for Food is the blog of Alisa Huntsman, a Williamsburg, Va., based pastry chef, cookbook author, food photographer, beekeeper and gardener. Her photos are wonderful and she tells a lovely story, too.

Front Porch Bliss posts recipes and writes about her young son and her new rural life in Northeastern Colorado.

On Ruth’s Corner of the Universe, Ruth collects yummy recipes, fun workouts and info about her native Virginia.

On Karen’s Ordinary Life, Karen shares recipes, DIY projects and more.

Dine in My Kitchen showcases Indian recipes from a Bengali native.

My questions for them to answer:

  1. What made you begin blogging?
  2. What’s your favorite part about blogging?
  3. What have you learned since you began blogging?
  4. Where do you live now?
  5. Where did you grow up?
  6. What place do you think has shaped you more than any other?
  7. What’s your favorite dinner?
  8. What’s your favorite dessert?
  9. What’s your favorite potluck dish to bring to an event?
  10. If you could grow anything in the world, what would you grow?
  11. If you eat as much locally grown food as you can, why do you do it? If not, why not?

And, that’s it. Thanks for reading and participating and following along, everyone!

I’ll be dipping my toes in the ocean next week, but back after that. By then, the garden should be in full swing. Cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, here we come!

This post has been linked on Fiesta Friday and Virginia Bloggers’ Friday Favorites