Serenbe Style and Soul

with Marie Nygren

Monthly Archive: September 2010



September 2010



Fig Cake in AJC article returns to the menu at The Farmhouse

Written by , Posted in "cooking demo" "serenbe farms", AJC, fig cake

This was a banner summer for figs at Serenbe. I have 3 bushes at the Inn and 1 in my backyard and they were continually bountiful for weeks. So like all good Southern ladies when one has baskets full of fruit, one makes preserves. Then the question becomes, what else could I do with my figs?

I had used preserves before to make a cake and thought that figs might make a great base for one. So after some research and some tweaking of the ingredients by Joy-my head cook, we came up with a recipe for Fig Cake that is delicious. The cake is moist and holds that moistness for days.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution (click to see article) Food section recently wrote a story on me and my culinary heritage. One of their requests was they wanted 3 recipes of mine that had not been published. The Fig Cake is one of those recipes.

On the day of the photography shoot, I was photographed in a field of sweet potato greens at Serenbe Farms with Paige- our farm manager. Then we went back to the Farmhouse kitchen and shot pictures of me cooking and  styling the food of the recipes I had given the paper.

As Joy is one of the best bakers I know, she had baked the cake for me the day before the shoot. And when I sliced into it, I could see the mouths surrounding me salivating in anticipation of that first bite. I do believe everyone swooned. It is really one of the most delicious old fashioned cakes I have ever tasted.

I hope you’ll come taste it for yourself at The Farmhouse this weekend!

**photo from AJC Bob Andres,



September 2010



The end of my Summer break

Written by , Posted in Miscellaneous

No, I didn’t disappear from the blog scene, just seems I took a summer break. Well at least from writing, not from cooking and redoing some spaces at The Inn. It has been a very busy summer season at Serenbe and not just for me.

Kara (daughter #2) and Dallas (another Serenbe resident) had their 4th year of Serenbe Day Camp. The camp was open for 5 weeks and had great response. Some kids came for all 5 weeks and one said,”this is the BEST camp ever!” I loved seeing all the little ones running around and I even visited a few events- a Bird’s of Prey show and the reptile visitors from Cochran Mill Nature Center.

This was the inaugural summer for Serenbe What an amazing job Brian Clowdus did!!! We had 3 different plays performed at Serenbe- Jungle Book, John and Jen, and R&J. Steve and I saw all 3 productions( some 2-3 times) and kept pinching ourselves that this was actually happening in “our woods.” 

High quality theatrical productions with live music all with dynamic talent. The response was terrific and Brian promises us another FABULOUS season for next year. Brian loved it so much that he has stayed on and will do a Halloween and Christmas themed production for the fall and winter at Serenbe.

A new store opened called Bloom – - by 2 sisters and it is filled with all kind of fun gift items and hip clothes and jewelry (I know this because all the dresses are way too short for me!!). Our daughters love to shop there- Kara just bought a great dress for her trip to San Francisco. I must say she looked very beautiful in it.

And then of course the Farmhouse. Fried Chicken Sundays have become very popular. There is something very Southern- well ok Southern from a generation ago- about taking a Sunday drive to the country and visiting Grandmother to have Fried Chicken and all the fixins. So as most of my guests do not have relatives in the country they can come to the Farmhouse now for that Southern experience.

I am always happy to fill in as a Grandmother for my littlest visitors when they become fussy at the table. As there are no grandchildren in site for me any time soon, I can practice at least.

We opened the Nest house model this June. It is our newest Serenbe Housing product- a very energy efficient small foot print house located in Grange. The house is filled with lots of the newest technical and energy features. I worked on the interiors with Dana and David Widmer who will be operating Serenbe Design Studio to help new buyers with their Nest house purchase.

We wanted to show that a small house-1074 sq.feet- could feel spacious and beautiful. I feel we did a great job. I’ll do a separate piece on that and write about all the environmental features in the house.

Then the press!
We have been very blessed to have some great pieces written about us this summer. Again- another posting on that is to come and I’ll give links to those pieces also.

AND, I tried out for a spot on the Food Network- “The Next Food Network Star.”  It was quite an experience and though I have heard nothing back I had great fun putting together all the pieces for the audition.

So as I said, it has been a quite summer season here. We have all been busy bees at Serenbe. Though I can still find the serene part here when Pudge and I take our morning walks. I just love the mornings here. Maybe that is another posting- pictures from my morning walk.

Writing this posting has gotten me enthused to share more of life at Serenbe with you.

I hope all of you had a great summer. For those of us in the south, we are ready for Fall. These 96 degree September days are just too much!!