Local Fun and Fare in Asheville, North Carolina

Over the holiday my family and I traveled to Asheville to visit the Biltmore Estate. Aside from the grandeur of it all, what amazed me the most was that the Biltmore Estate was built on the premise of sustainability. Anything that the family would ever need would all be provided for them on their Estate.

In keeping with that theme, we sought out one of Asheville’s local restaurants, The Early Girl Eatery. The Early Girl Eatery is located downtown Asheville and is owned and operated by a husband and wife team, John and Julie Stehling. Their motto is “made from scratch” and that it was. Even down to their hand-made jam jars created by a local clay artisan. Their menu consisted of “farm to table” cuisine: high quality local produce grown in Asheville by over 22 local family farmers and CSAs (community-supported agriculture). The farms raise chickens, pigs, cows and bees, to help provide the ingredients needed for their menu items.

We went for breakfast and I ordered the Early Girl Benny. Two grit cakes (which I was a little hesitant about, after all, I am a Yankee) topped with sliced tomato, sautéed spinach, poached eggs, tomato gravy and avocado slices. Holy Momma, it was sooooo good!! Other delish items that were ordered (not all by me) were a sweet potato and sausage scramble and a black bean and cheddar omelet. All made from fresh, organic, local ingredients. It does feel good to eat that fresh.

When we got home I really wanted to replicate that meal and did, with a few of my own little tweaks. I don’t know how to make grit cakes so I used brown rice, and for the tomato gravy, I used 1 teaspoon of agave syrup in place of the 1 tablespoon of sugar. The sugar was definitely not missed, it was still delicious. I found the tomato gravy recipe on their website:

Tomato Gravy


3 T olive oil

4 C tomatoes (chopped)

1 C onion (fine diced)

2 1/2 T flour

1/4 T basil

1/4 thyme

1 T sugar




In heavy bottom pot or saucepan saute’ onions in olive oil until translucent. Stir in flour to form roux. Add tomatoes (stir in water or stock if needed to prevent sticking). Add basil, thyme, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 30 minutes until tomatoes are broken down. Whisk together.

You can find this recipe along with a few other of their original recipes at www.earlygirleatery.com. We will definitely go back to Early Girl the next time we are in Asheville.

I am glad to be home and looking forward to a healthy new year. I still have a lot of balancing to do to bring myself back to neutral. Looking forward to doing it with all of you!

Keep it Real. Keep it Simple. Make it Matter. – Andrea


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