Don’t Know Much but I Do Know that Mushrooms and Asparagus Together are Delightful


For a few years now, I have been attending various food blogging conferences. I usually return home brimming with inspiration and loaded down with lots of free Scharffen Berger chocolate.

A week or so ago, I attended my third BlogHerFood conference up in Seattle. There wasn’t any free chocolate (Scharffen Berger wasn’t a sponsor this time) which should have been a sign. Instead of returning home inspired, I arrived home with the weight of all I don’t know.

I don’t know what my brand is, my mission statement, or whether Pinterest is a better marketing vehicle than Facebook. I don’t know the best way to build a relationship with “the brands” or if I should. I had never heard of Issuu and I don’t have a press kit, should I? I don’t know if I should post more often, and if I did, how often? I don’t know if I should have ads on my blog and if so, would I use an ad network or solicit individual sponsors? I don’t know if the name La Pomme de Portland is a marketing liability and if so, should I change it? To what? Is video really the next big thing? Should I stop taking photos? Stop writing? Is nobody reading anymore? I don’t know. I don’t know how to do more than I’m doing now, and still take care of my family.


PeoniesI do know I love peonies

So, after I tossed all that I don’t know aside, and reminded myself of my mantra for 2012,

Be present. Trust the process, your own process. And keep moving forward.

I thought of all I do know.

I do know that I love to write. I love the challenge of stringing words together to capture a moment and sharing that moment and its emotions with others. I love to take photographs because photography allows me to stop time for just an instant. I love to cook for my family. So much in this world is unknown, unreliable. A meal, cooked by me, and enjoyed by all of us is one of the few things my family can depend on. I do know that right now, asparagus and mushrooms sautéed up with a shallot, some thyme and a little…butter…tastes delicious.



I do know that while my take-away from BlogHerFood was that my business and marketing practices are paltry at best, I’m so grateful for the people I’ve met at BlogHerFood over the years…many of whom are now dear friends.

Todd Porter and Diane Cu, White On Rice Couple, gave the opening keynote. I found myself with a lump in my throat during their talk. So moved by what they had to say and awed by how beautiful their work is. I have been following them for years, and I told them during the conference that when my inspirational well is dry, I go to their site to fill it back up. Here is a video they shared. Take a minute to watch it. Your day will be better for it.

These women, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, Ree’s sister, Betsy, Tasty Kitchen, and Jaden Hair, Steamy Kitchen, are all bona fide business women, but also generous with what they have and what they’ve learned. I’m grateful to be on the receiving end of their generosity.

And when I think of the women I roomed with, and danced with, and enjoyed a carrot martini with in Seattle  – some new friends, some old friends, but all cherished – I find myself saying a little prayer of gratefulness. I know my life is enriched by spending time with these talented women. If you have a minute, check out the good work they are doing on their own websites.

Sara Tetreault, Go Gingham
Sheila Johnson, Eat2Gather
Sandy Coughlin, Reluctant Entertainer
Amy Johnson, She Wears Many Hats
Coryanne Etienne, Housewife Bliss

I do know that I’m so grateful for you. For the fact, that you take time out of your precious life to wander on over and see what’s going on in my little, tiny corner of the world wide web. “sniff, sniff…xo”

And I do know that the words Todd and Diane say beneath their video, resonate with me.

Immerse yourself with people and things that matter to you most.
At the end of the day, that’s what really counts.
And nourishes us deeply.

I do know I love to gather friends together for coffee, but it’s bittersweet when it’s to say good-bye to a dear friend.


A Little Sauté of Mushrooms and Asparagus Over Penne
5.0 from 2 reviews
Course: Dinner
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-5
I realize we're almost to the end of asparagus season, but I had to share this quick yet scrumptious dish before those little green shoots disappear until next season. I've made this with various mushrooms and herbs, all with great success. A sprinkling of pancetta or leftover chicken on top could make it a one dish wonder, or serve this alongside some grilled white fish. Pair it all up with a crisp white wine and you're set. Enjoy...
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 bundle of asparagus, 3-4 cups, cut into one-inch pieces
  • ½ lb mushrooms, sliced, 3 to 4 cups - white, cremini, shiitake
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil or leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, depending on what's in season
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, or to your liking
  • 1 cup pasta water
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta - fettucini, rigatoni, penne
Optional: shredded chicken or crisped pancetta to serve on top
Optional: grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Fill a large pot with water, a sprinkle of salt, and set over high heat to boil. Follow instructions on package for cooking your pasta. Make sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt your butter and heat your olive oil. Add your shallots. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in your mushrooms and garlic and sauté another 3 minutes or so. Add in your asparagus and seasonings - basil or thyme, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Sauté another 4 minutes or until your asparagus is cooked to your liking.
  3. Stir in your reserved pasta water and half and half. Let gently simmer for just a few minutes.
  4. Spoon over your pasta. Enjoy.


PS: Song running through my head as I wrote this: Wonderful World by Sam Cooke


  1. Carrie,
    Your blog is the first blog that I started to follow and I’ve always found yours to be one of the most refreshing and wonderful places to visit – I’ve felt a connection to the places you visit, the foods you make and the honesty of your words to describe your life as a mother and a wife. I’ve been inspired by you countless times. I appreciate that yours is a site that isn’t flashy, isn’t riddled with giveaways and gimmicks to artificially boost readership. Thank you for giving of yourself in all of your posts. There always seems to be a life lesson in your writings and those are so valuable.

    • Okay, Erica, you are incredibly thoughtful to leave such a kind comment. I am teared up. Thank you, thank you. Thank you for reading all these years and letting me know. You have no idea how much that means. xo

  2. I couldn’t agree more with Erica. You refresh my work day, when you unexpectedly pop into my email. I smile, go after a cup of coffee and sit with you a bit. You bring peace to a crazy day and reality to what is really important: the love of family and friends, the joy of eating really good food and the beauty of the world around us. Stay true to yourself and your instincts because you’re wonderful just the way you are.

    • Ah, Deb, I love that image of you drinking coffee, reading La Pomme. Thank you for sharing!! (…and for your kind words. xo)

  3. Suzi Pahl says:


    I love your blog just the way it is. I appreciate that I can just click, read, look and think. No special downloads required!

    Keep following your mantra. I think that you are on to something.

    xo – Suzi

  4. Love your blog like it is. Such wonderful pictures, especially this time, and insite to your family life. Recipes are always delicious. This time felt I had taken that trip to Seattle with you.
    (I watch The Pioneer Woman) Keep up the good work and don’t fuss up your site with
    advertising, thank you! Reader of a few years. See you on AMNW, too.

    • Thanks, Diane, for the kudos. And thanks for reading all these years. I so appreciate it!!

  5. Carrie,
    What they said. : )
    The things you “don’t know” are really the strengths of your blog from this perspective. And, Oh the Photography! You really have a gift, thanks for sharing it.

  6. Oh, friend. I love you! I’m so happy we got to hang out.

    I can’t wait for next time! xo

  7. Carrie, I feel your pain. What did I take away from Blogherfood? Confusion, uncertainty,anxioty. Sounds like I had a horrible time, but I had an amazing time!, I chose to look at it as a wonderful opportunity to spend time with women, that if not for my wacky blog, would never been blessed to know or call friend. That my beautiful and extremely talented (in so many ways) friend is priceless!
    Thanks for this post! Love you! Sheila

    • This is why we get along so well because we clearly feel the same way. Loved sharing my pie with you and your boys! Come back soon!!

  8. I’m not sure any of us have it figured out – brand, no brand; advertise, no advertising. Who am I? What do i represent? At the end of the day i think you play to an audience of one – yourself; write for you, photograph for you, cook for you, your family – all with your heart. You’re doing just fine Carrie

  9. Although I was unable to make it to BHF this year, I totally get and have felt/feel the very same way. It’s a constant struggle within myself. But just let me say that you, your blog, your writing and your photography is exquisite. Keep on keeping on as *you*. And only you. Because you have a story to tell. A beautiful story that is woven through pictures and words and emotions, not all that other stuff. Hugs to you sweet friend. xo

  10. Oh Carrie! Our short time together was one of the things I remember fondly from Seattle. I do hope we can find some time to get together in the near future. xoxoxo

    • Absolutely loved spending with you and your darling family in Seattle, Amy. Hope you come west again soon! But until then, we need to find a way to meet in the middle.

  11. I read, and so do many others. Photography is important to me in a blog. Those others will eventually find that the latest gizmos don’t last. Go for content, intelligence, and beauty. You can’t go wrong.

  12. Heidi @foodiecrush says:

    Although I had a produxtive time at Blogher Food, I like you, sometimea feel on the outskirts of what the rules are in the food blogger sandbox. The one thing I do know to be true, and try as hard as I might to abide by, is to speak from the heart and show who you are, not who you think others should perceive you to be. You look like you’re cut of the same cloth. I was just cut with those crazy skizzo scissors, but hey! A little crooked adds a little flavor right? I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your blog better. Kudos to you!

    • Thank you, Heidi, for stopping by La Pomme and leaving your thoughtful words. Loved meeting you in Seattle and I so look forward to getting to know you better. I especially can’t wait for your upcoming magazine issue featuring the lovely “Lady in Pink”!!

  13. I so agree! I couldn’t make to Blogher in Seattle this year, too much going on in the winery. I am vowed to be in Austin next year…hopefully we can touch base…even though we are both in Oregon! Balance and blogging…so hard to know what’s next, just keep at it, your blog is beautiful!

    • Kathy, we have got to have our own Oregon blogger round-up so we can all meet each other, for crying out loud. Thank you for stopping by La Pomme!!

  14. Carrie, your heart and soul is huge, thank you for this. You are such a gem. And you, your beauty will always shine.
    hugs and love,
    diane and todd

  15. Kristen says:

    Oh Carrie… I love and miss you & love everything about this post. I’m sure your ears are ringing tonight because there is talk about how real & authentic & talented you are. You are a bright spot on the blogging world.

  16. Thank you for your kind words, Kristen, but I’m a little worried about how the conversation turned to me being authentic. Did it possibly have anything to do with me dancing to ‘Super Freak’ at BlogHerFood? 🙂 Miss you too…so wish you had been there too. xo

  17. Carrie,
    Thank you for this! Keep going and don’t stop. Your photographs are gorgeous and your writing is so you. Well said, as usual.