Monday, May 18, 2015

Strawberry Jam making at the Portland Homestead Supply Co. The Hot Bath Method!

The boiling berries!

I grew up with a grandma that made tons of pickles in a kitchen hallway lined with crocks and shelves filled with canning jars.  I hated waiting for them and when we were finally allowed to open one, we would crowd around and eat them like they were special candy.  She occasionally made jam too!  Again, we'd line up and wait for the process to be over and the great thing… we didn't have to wait very long because jam doesn't have to ferment like pickles and you can literally eat it right away.  However, I dutifully brought my jar home yesterday after my very first jam making class .

I have taken other classes at the Portland Homestead Supply Co. and they've all been fun and I learned a lot.  We watched this process yesterday being done by a Master Food Preserver, Eric Tworivers, M.F. P.  And yes, you go to college for that degree and he knows his stuff.  He said you can make jam out of anything pretty much.  He mentioned beer jam and I know now, this has to be done soon!  He's getting me the recipe.

So, below, you'll find the recipe for the hot bath method strawberry jam we made yesterday and have at it!  I am still a bit nervous to do it but I'm gunna go for it once I get my hands on a flat of berries!  And as for that beer jam… I'll let you know how that goes and perhaps let you sample it too!

Enjoy!

Berries and jars heating up!

Eric Tworivers, M.F. P

YOU WILL NEED:

DIRECTIONS:

  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  2. COMBINE strawberries and lemon juice in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
  3. ADD entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.
  4. LADLE hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
  5. PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

    Doughnuts are added to this Third Wave Coffee Tour… a Portland Tour Pairing to love.

    My cuppa at home before the tour;))!

    I was standing there watching the barista at our last stop of this coffee tour making a pour over.  At that moment, I connected with the real reason I began drinking coffee. The barista said something about the journey, the experience and so on and I was like, yeah… I get that.

    There's something about opening a fresh bag of roasted beans and pouring them in to my jar at home. Something about the way the grinder releases the wave of scent throughout my kitchen and then that something that hits you when your hot water touches the grinds and you watch it trickle down slowly and fill and you know it's almost ready.

    Last year Lora from Third Wave Coffee Tours here in Portland, invited me to come along on her adventure.  An adventure it was since we just had a snow and ice storm pass over Portland that lasted about a week.  We trekked through that snow and ice and tasted coffee at several spots on the east side of town.  I learned a lot and watched how methods of making coffee has changed over the years and those methods have certainly become an art form in my opinion.  So, this year, Lora added artisan doughnuts to her tour and that pairing makes perfect sense to me.  I was happy to tag along on this Artisanal Donut and Specialty Coffee Tour!  Follow me here and I will re-cap our tour and the highlights that got me excited:


    Coco Donuts!
    First we met at Coco Donuts where I just found out they began roasting their own brand of coffee  a short time ago.  That with a platter of delicious, what I call somewhat normal good old fashioned donuts greeted me at the door.  I love talking to the owners/chefs personally and I enjoy hearing their story and the joy they get in what they do.  I have liked Coco Donuts for a long time so I was excited to try their roasted coffee.  It was good and hit the spot at this first stop.

    Headed north, we trekked over to Sterling Coffee Roasters and I had been before.  This place is teeny and darling and I found out two things… they pack up each night and turn in to a cool little bar and they evidently have the best hot chocolate in Portland.  We sampled their coffee and that hot chocolate. Some of us mixed the two and that was like heaven.  I highly suggest you peek inside and perhaps sit at one of the cute little tables and enjoy a cuppa soon.

    There's one joint I have walked buy a hundred times when I lived in the Pearl and never walked in to. That would be Local Roasting Company.  What a great place and the big take away here… they make their very own hazelnut milk.  I could never switch from half and half for my morning coffee but they just may have turned me!  They made us lattes with that milk and I have to say, it was delicious so yeah… I'll try it again.  I suggest you check it out cause it's a great place with lots of interesting contemporary art as well as that delicious coffee!

    Over to Blue Star Donuts for a box of goodies where everyone salivated just a tad while Lora scooped up the box for us and we headed to Barista on NW 23rd.  I have a Barista Coffee by where I live in the Alberta Arts and I've been to another location in the Pearl but this one… C L A S S Y!!!  What a divine idea to class this coffee house up.  Love the leather booths, the wallpaper, the lighting… I love it all and there's the coffee of course!  Iced coffee all around and you must go and check this place out.  In fact, JUST TAKE THE TOUR with Lora!

    We left there reluctantly and then found out about this great coffee supply shop just up the road a bit.  Seattle Coffee Gear is one of those places you dream about if you're a coffee freak like me.  Tons of equipment and people to show you how to use it all.  We watched as a barista taught us about coffee, made a pour over and gave us a quick coffee run down.  This is the only Seattle Coffee Gear out of Washington State so get over and check it out!  And, this is where Lora passed out those Blue Star Donuts.  Lucky us!
    Blue Star Donuts!
    I suggest you take the Third Wave Coffee Tour especially if you love coffee however, you can certainly just take it for the donuts too.  Together though, this pairing… it's perfect!  You can pair this tour and tuck it nicely in to one of my itineraries for your time in Portland as well.  Let me know if I can provide more info or help you turn your time in Portland in to a Coffee and Donut, city trekking, sight seeing, all the food loving experiences you came here for.

    Cheers!

    Barista's at Sterling Coffee!

    Sterling Coffee and Hot Chocolate!

    Barista on NW 23rd… so classy!

    note:  though I did not pay for this tour, my thoughts are purely my own.  thank you Lora!

    Friday, May 15, 2015

    FEAST PORTLAND 2015… let's get this show on the road! Tickets available beginning today May 15th!


    The info is here folks… it's easy!  Just read, buy your tickets and sit back and wait with eager anticipation to eat your heart out!  Feast Portland 2015 tickets are available today!  Go for it… plan that trip to Portland and we'll see you in SEPTEMBER!


    YOU CAN DIET WHEN YOU’RE ASLEEP!
     TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR BON APPÉTIT PRESENTS FEAST PORTLAND: A CELEBRATION OF OREGON BOUNTY, SEPTEMBER 17-20, 2015
    Feast Portland Reveals Year-Four Festival Lineup, Including
    New Saturday Marquee Event Smoked!,
    Hottest Roster Yet of Local, National and International Chefs

    PORTLAND, ORE.May 15, 2015 – Tickets are now on sale for the fourth year of Bon Appétit Presents Feast Portland: A Celebration of Oregon Bounty,September 17-20, 2015. The Feast Portland 2015 lineup is hotter than ever with the addition of their new Saturday night marquee event, Smoked!, a sizzling celebration of animal, vegetable, sea and forest. Taking place at The Fields in Portland’s Pearl District on Saturday, September 19 from 6-9pm complete with an epic view of Portland’s Fremont Bridge, Smoked! will be a wild night of live fire, bold Northwest Wines, classic cocktails, and some of the best bites of the weekend.

    Feast will also feature legendary chefs from around the country and the around world like Ollie Dabbous of Dabbous in London, Christopher Haatuft of Lysverket in Norway, John Tesar of Knife at The Highland Dallas in Dallas, Philip Krajeck of Rolf and Daughters in Nashville, Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station in LA, Paul Kahan of The Publican in Chicago, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Viet Pham of ember + ash in Salt Lake City, Brad Farmerie of Saxon + Parole in New York City, Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury in Washington, DC, Chris Cosentino of Cockscomb in San Francisco and dozens more, plus Oregon’s very best chefs, artisans, winemakers, brewers, cider houses and distillersTickets for Feast Portland 2015 are available now at www.FeastPortland.com.

    As the flagship food and drink festival of the Pacific Northwest, Feast Portland has more than 30 events at beautiful venues across Portland, including large-scale marquee events, intimate dinners, tasting panels, hands-on classes and industry parties over four intense days of eating and drinking. Balancing debauchery with philanthropy, Feast Portland continues its mission to end childhood hunger in Oregon and across America by donating festival net proceeds to No Kid Hungry and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, giving more than $162,000 over the last three years.

    THE CHEFS:

    In a region celebrated for innovations in food and drink, Feast Portland unites local talent with internationally recognized chefs, industry leaders, culinary media and influencers. Founded by Mike Thelin and Carrie Welch in 2012, Feast has become a premier festival for emerging and established culinary talent.


    “It has been thrilling to see Feast Portland evolve into one of the most celebrated food festivals in the country, but not surprising. From the quality and variety of ingredients to the talent and originality of the chefs and artisans, Oregon is peerless,” said Feast Portland co-founders Mike Thelin and Carrie Welch.

    This year, Feast Portland is excited to welcome more international chefs than ever before to the 2015 lineup including Angus An of Maenam (Vancouver, Canada), Ollie Dabbous of Dabbous (London), Jackie Ellis of Beaucoup Bakery (Vancouver, Canada), Christopher Haatuft of Lysverket (Norway), and James Knappett of Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs (London).

    Oregon chefs participating in Feast Portland 2015 include Aaron Barnett of St. Jack, Ben Bettinger of Laurelhurst Market, David Briggs of Xocolatl de Davíd, Kyra Bussanich of Kyra's Bake Shop, Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions, Beau Carr of RingSide Steakhouse, Jose Chesa of Ataula, Matt Christianson of Urban Farmer Restaurant, Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton of OX Restaurant, Scott Dolich of Park Kitchen, Rick Ebster of Bottle + Kitchen, Patrick Fleming of Boke Bowl, Ken Forkish and Rich Meyer of Trifecta Tavern & Bakery, Jason French of Ned Ludd, Alissa Frice of Frice Pastry, Rick Gencarelli of Lardo, John Gorham of Toro Bravo, Gregory Gourdet of Departure, Tommy Habetz and Nick Wood of Bunk Sandwiches, Tim Healea of Little T Baker, Sunny Jin of JORY at The Allison, Scott Ketterman of Crown Paella, Stephanie Pearl Kimmel of Marché, Carlo Lamagna of Clyde Common, Jenn Louis of Lincoln Restaurant, Troy MacLarty of Bollywood Theater, Tyler Malek of Salt & Straw, Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene’s, Tony Meyers of Serratto, Katy Millard of Coquine, Bonnie Morales of Kachka, Kristen D. Murray of Måurice, Earl Ninsom of Langbaan, Daniel N. Oseas of Broder Café, Vitaly Paley of Imperial, Naomi Pomeroy of Beast, Nong Poonsukwattana of Nong's Khao Man Gai, Will Preisch and Joel Stocks of Holdfast, Andy Ricker of Pok Pok, Ryan Roadhouse of Nodoguro, Allen Routt of The Painted Lady, Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon, Adam Sappington of The Country Cat, Sarah Schafer of Irving Street Kitchen, BJ Smith of Smokehouse Tavern, Nate Snell of Pip's Original Doughnuts, Scott Snyder of Levant, John Stewart of Meat Cheese Bread, Johanna Ware of Smallwares, Cathy Whims of Nostrana, Justin Wills of Restaurant Beck, Justin Woodward of Castagna Restaurant and Jin Soo Yang of Bamboo Sushi.

    National chefs participating in Feast Portland 2015 include Nick Anderer of Maialino (NYC), Franklin Becker of The Little Beet (NYC), Justin Brunson of Old Major (Denver), Alvin Cailan of Eggslut (LA), Andrew Carmellini of Bar Primi (NYC), Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy (NYC), Chad Colby of chi SPACCA (LA), Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo of Fat Rice (Chicago), Chris Cosentino of Cockscomb (San Francisco), Harold Dieterle of Kin Shop (NYC), Elizabeth Falkner of Falk Yeah Productions (NYC), Brad Farmerie of Saxon + Parole (NYC), Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station (LA), Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue (Austin), Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes (LA), Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer (Kinston, NC), Michael Hung of Faith + Flower (LA), Paul Kahan of The Publican (Chicago), Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable (Minneapolis), Philip Krajeck of Rolf and Daughters (Nashville), Matt Lightner, Sam Mason of OddFellows (NYC), Tony Maws of Craigie on Main (Cambridge, MA), Steve McHugh of Cured (San Antonio), Harold Moore of Harold's Meat + 3 (NYC), Viet Pham of ember + ash (Salt Lake City), Paul Qui of qui (Austin), Chris Shepherd of Underbelly (Houston), Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury (Washington, DC), Nancy Silverton of Mozza Restaurant (LA), Alex Stupak of Empellon (NYC), John Tesar of Knife at The Highland Dallas (Dallas) and Rachel Yang of Joule (Seattle).

    “What I love most about Feast Portland is how, from day one, it has attracted the best, most innovative chefs in the world. Not because we pursue them, but because they want to be a part of Feast,” said Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport. “They want to visit a city whose dining scene is as vibrant as any in the country, and participate in a festival that organically taps into that scene’s energy and creativity. The result is a food festival unlike any other in America.”







    Note:  Info provided by Little Green Pickle!

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015

    On the road to Smith Rock and Bend Oregon… a few days to explore!


    Mom and Dad planned their visit to Oregon and spent a week with us.  They left yesterday and we had a great time with them.  I started thinking last night about what we did, where we went, what we ate, drank etc.  I really couldn't believe how much we crammed in to a week here in Oregon.  So, if you only have a week and want to spend a few days in Bend and do a little exploring with some memorable experiences, check out the rest of the story here!

    Old St. Francis School… McMenamins!

    Out by the fire pits at Old St. Francis School. 

    My parents arrived about midnight Monday night.  We left early the next morning and headed out of town after gassing up and getting our coffee.  First stop was Smith Rock!  What a simply amazing place. Limited on just how much hiking mom and dad could do, we were all happy to gaze and trek around the rim loop and watch the climbers and hikers from up top.  We enjoyed a sit down for a bit and were able to clearly see climbers tackling their climb.  Pointing out people that looked like spiders, some having no issue climbing up to the tops faster than we could keep up and some shooting down repelling like there's no tomorrow, we were in awe and amazed at our good fortune.  Not climbers ourselves, it's easy to be enthralled at just how agile and brave these climbers are.  Or is that they are crazy and fearless??  Who knows.  It was just pretty cool to watch.

    Safely back on the road toward Bend, we enjoyed the ride as we talked about what we saw, where we trekked and how we'd love to go back soon and hike deeper in to the rock.  Next time for sure.  We pulled into Bend and landed at the Old St. Francis School a McMenamins facility and got settled in to our rooms.  This is Ray's favorite lodging in Bend by the way.  He loves all the fire pits out back, the old bar and the fact he can smoke a cigar out there.  I in fact love the place myself and happy to treat my parents to it.  They seemed to really like it and enjoyed the twin claw footed tubs in their fancy king room;))!

    Over the next day or so, it seemed we went everywhere.  We visited Sun River and we all really loved that area of Central Oregon.  Driving around, we encountered some sleet, snow and a little hail which was fine as we planned to be in the car more than anything.  We had a lot of ground to cover.  It felt like winter all over again but was soon cleared out and the sun shone bright as we finished and made our way back to Bend again.  We checked out the Deschutes River as we strolled the sweet historic downtown neighborhood and enjoyed the sunsets both nights as we ogled and coveted the homes that were immaculately maintained and just simply gorgeous!  Just an FYI… the recession is over in Bend folks. Can't touch anything downtown worth living in for under 500k…

    As usual, my trips aren't complete without good food!  We drove over to The Sparrow Bakery one morning to get a coffee and of course a few little pastries.  Some French Macarons to be exact.  I hear their Ocean Rolls are good but they go fast and they were out.  Next time.

    On to more looking and exploring, we ended up at Crux Fermentation Project again and after being there last summer, we knew we had to stop for a late lunch/early dinner this trip. The beer was delicious and so was the food.  Next time I swear I'm giving up lunch for a piece of carrot cake.  It looked perfect but we had no room for it this time.  But, we got lucky and it was bottling day at Crux so we watched as they filled, sealed and boxed up the good stuff for shipping.



    Watching from a window inside The Sparrow Cafe.

    We wore ourselves out and wore my parents out and loved the drive home back to Portland just as much.  So much of Central Oregon is drier than where I'm from and with all the different foliage and smells of nature and brush, I wish I could capture some of that to bring home.  We saw so many mountains still covered in snow and trying to name all of them drove us crazy.  It's time for a lesson on the Oregon Cascades I'm sure.

    Mt. Hood of course is unmistakeable however, from the south, we struggled for a second or two to be sure of what we were looking at.  It does look different from different angles and from different directions.

    If you are thinking of heading to Bend or anywhere in Central Oregon for a few days, be sure to hit that bakery and Crux and lodging at any McMenamins is pretty sweet.  Booking as far ahead as possible is best if you are planning to stay at the Old St. Francis School.

    Please let me know if I can help you plan your trip and plug in some places we weren't able to hit this time but have enjoyed in prior visits.  Bend has so much to see and do.  We have enjoyed cave trekking, snowmobiling, hiking and more!  Be sure to check out Travel Oregon for more info too!  


    Mt. Hood from the south from Bend!

    Monday, April 27, 2015

    A road trip that began at the Oregon Coast!… We made a circle and then came back home to Portland!

    Shore Acres! 
    I will not provide you with every boring detail of our road trip although, there wasn't much about it that was boring at all.  I could tell you of every road we took, every site we saw and just about every bite we tasted but lets just get to the guts of the story and give you the highlights.

    We had not ever explored the southern Oregon coast much so that was our first stop on day 1 of our road trip that began about three weeks ago.  Trekking down I 5 to Hwy 38 and heading for the coast, we traveled through an old favorite route of ours where Elk roam the fields on the sides of the road the mighty Umpqua River rushes in emeralds and blues alongside you.  This road took us to the Oregon Coast!

    We spent our first night in North Bend at the Itty Bitty Hotel right off the hwy.  We used AirBnB for our trip and I have to say, this was our best experience on the road with them.  The place was teeny or "itty bitty" as the name says however, it was perfect for the two of us.  Rik was an awesome host and the little place was super clean and comfy.  Be sure to check out this motel if you are headed that way.

    We left early the next morning with lots to do and spent some time at Shore Acres roaming the gardens and trying to keep dry.  This time of year, the coast is unpredictable but we didn't complain, we are Oregonians after all.  I suggest Shore Acres at Christmastime by the way.  The grounds are covered in lights and it's just perfect for everyone that loves the season.

    We headed to the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort next.  I had explored this once but with Ray, we trekked out on to the greens and again, ducking the rain and watching the hard core golfers ignore the wet!  Soon we were headed south once again.  We had more to see and drive through as we headed for our second night on the road.


    Arcata Scoop!

    Using AirBnB once again, we stayed at a cute little cottage in Arcata, CA.  Met some friends at a pub, where we ate burgers and drank local beer and then found this little ice cream shop just around the corner.  It was called, Arcata Scoop.  They make all their own ice cream and we soon found out just how sweet this place is.  Next morning we stopped for coffee and grabbed a red velvet cupcake at a local bakery and set out for the Redwoods!  And yes, all good cupcakes need their photograph taken and yes, that's a blue vintage suit case in the photo that we took along with us to use for our picnic basket.

    Driving the Redwoods took most of the day cause we just couldn't keep our eyes off the trees.  They were gorgeous and so every side road we could take led us to even more trees as we kept slowly trekking south.
    Redwoods with that cupcake!

    We eventually made it to Petaluma, our third night on the road.  A nice town with lots to see and do, our lodging was a new Air Stream Trailer at this little French Hotel.  Let me just say this… it sounds so cute and fun but really, it's not!  Ha… we really enjoyed the idea of it all and the bed was super comfy but that's as far it goes.  I am sure we are more hotel folk and not travel trailer folk.  Lesson learned and then we were on our way bright and early the next morning.



    Ferndale, CA!

    We back tracked a little as we had an appointment for a special tour of Spirit Works Distillery in Sebastapol.  I love their Sloe Gin so I was dying to see how they make it.  A quick tour and learning about the Sloe Berries and the fact that Spirit Works is the only distillery in the US to make Sloe Gin right now, we were smitten and hooked for good!  Our favorite part of the tour… seeing the barrels loaded with whiskey, we noticed that they were hooked up to iPods and had head phones laying over the top of them.  Classical, hard rock, etc. were playing on each barrel.  I can't wait to see how this pans out next year when the whiskey will be ready for tasting.  Nothing better than whiskey that's been aging while rocking out to ALL of Led Zeplins records!

    We walked around this area of Sebastapol for a while and discovered that it's grounds and warehouses were used to store Gravenstein apples at one time.  Now these warehouses hold bakeries, wine tasting rooms, restaurants and soon, a hotel!  I need to go back asap… I just want to explore more of this region and especially see how they turn an old warehouse in to a hotel.

    Spirit Works!

    Huckleberry!

    It was back to I 5 eventually and we had a reservation at a swanky West LA hotel and we didn't want to be late.  We got checked in, Über was scheduled and we were off to find the Burger Lounge which just so happened to be across the street from LA's Salt & Straw.  No accident it was there really, I had this all planned out weeks ago.  Delicious burgers and then a stroll over for some ice cream and a listen to all the folks in line.  Kind of funny but there's a line in LA too by the way and I had a great time sitting and watching the LA crowd ooh and awe over Salt & Straw's flavors.  Another Über trek back and that was that for the night.

    Next morning we were up and ready for Huckleberry!  A Santa Monica staple and with my Huckleberry Cookbook in hand, we strolled in, ordered breakfasts and asked that every baker sign the book for us.  It was going to be a wedding gift after all and so signatures, well wishes and a gift card tucked nicely inside would be perfect!  Our breakfast was perfect too… breakfast porridge for me and huevos rancheros for him and then we were once again on our way!

    That's Sher! xoxo

    I do!

    Time spent in Southern California with family and friends and this wedding in the mountains of Idyllwild, we played, we ate, we laughed and shared with friends our stories as we listened to theirs.  Cuban cigars paid courtesy of another AirBnB hit, were spread around at this gathering below.  Fellow firefighters sitting by the fire after devouring smoked meats and other delicious goodies, smoking and sipping fine whiskey's till it was time to say good bye and good night once again.

    Firefighter Brothers!


    St. George view from The Inn at the Cliff!

    We spent a few nights after that in Arizona visiting more family and then trekked a whole day via the Hoover Dam and Vegas in to St. George, Utah.  One night there and on to Zion National Park where friends had already booked a cabin for us to share.  We only had one night so this had to be good… and it was!  We put our sneakers on and pulled our pant legs up and trekked through part of The Narrows and wow… we had a blast!  I had trekked through water before but this was simply amazing!  The high cliffs above us with walls of red and blue river water, we walked over stones and sand bars for a while till we could go no more all the while cursing ourselves for not planning this better and renting the proper gear to go all the way.  Next time!

    I hadn't been to Zion since I was young so this was surely a treat.  It was crowded this time of year but not so much so that we couldn't enjoy just being there.  The cabins at the Zion Lodge are perfect and warm and cozy and it's a great place to be.  One night and darn it, we had to get home.  Saying good bye to friends the next morning and hit the road once more.

    The Narrows at Zion NP!


    One night in Boise at the The Boise Guest House and we were so pooped out from driving once we got there.  It was almost 9:30 and we had to get out and walk!  After we got checked in, we strolled over to the Bittercreek Alehouse and had thee most perfect beer, tacos, wings and fries!  We hit the 10pm mark and it was happy hour all over again.  Filled bellies and a short stroll back, we decided that Boise needs another visit as well.  We'll be back and we enjoyed our short stay at the guesthouse and I have a free bike rental waiting for me on Yelp I'll need to use;)!

    The Boise Guest House!

    Back home in Portland now for a few days and it has been a long journey and an awesome road trip. Filled with excursions, hiking, eating, photography, wet feet and wedding "I do's," but most of all, a journey filled with kissing loved ones, hanging with friends and just being with those we care about.  It was the best road trip ever and I'm looking forward already to the next one!


    Sunday, April 19, 2015

    Less water yields more creative ways to make your gardens grow!





    I found this article on Houzz.com today as I was perusing my latest email from them.  I love finding things like this to read because I have done most of what they say and what I haven't done, I'm working on.  And, I love all the new ideas I have found!

    We've been on this very long road trip and yes, I'm ready to go home but… I have to say, I learned a lot and saw a lot that tells me that this is truly the beginning of one of the biggest water shortages we've ever experienced.  From Southern Oregon in to Northern California in to Santa Monica, to Corona and Riverside via Pasadena etc., we watched as the vegetation changed.  Driving the roads that took us to these places, we saw trees dying, drying streams, low lakes and the more south we got, the worse it looked.  It really makes you think about how much water we use, how we can use less and still have that awesome looking garden space and enjoy our yards.  So, I am sharing these ideas with you so that maybe it'll help you find that perfect idea for your yard and garden.

    I am dying to get get home and begin playing in my garden.  This road trip has been amazing and interesting but it always feels good to get home.  My garden awaits with it's empty pots, dug out feed trough raised beds, trellises and our newest addition a small raised bed just perfect for hops!  I've grown them before in the Willamette Valley and we are anxious to get into beer making this fall so it made sense to grow our own.

    We've been in our home in the Alberta Arts area of NE Portland for one year now and when we moved it, we thought that since it was a new home with a brand new yard, it was like an empty canvas.  We became our own garden artists and began digging in.  Tilling the soil, removing rocks which we used later for a walkway, planting several trees, bringing in bark and top soil, we planted veggies in our raised beds and began enjoying our new outdoor space.  Using the bark not only makes us feel like we are in the woods when we go outside, it along with our raised garden areas, sparse but interesting landscaping and some minor hard scape, we have created an outdoor space that requires very little watering.  This not only made us feel good about helping our environment, it was gratifying to plant and watch our natives flourish.

    We still have a ways to go but every year we will add a little more hardscape and perhaps a few rain barrels in hopes of making our yard even more efficient.  If you have any ideas not addressed in the article on how we can cut down on even more water use, I'd love to hear them in the comment section of my blog.

    Thanks!


    Friday, April 3, 2015

    FEAST PORTLAND… happening September 17 - 20, 2015! Tickets go on SALE May 2015!


    Some of you may have already done this but if you haven't yet, get your calendars open and jot down the dates above!  You'll want to be sure to attend as many Feast Portland 2015 events as possible and if this year is anything like last year, the tickets will go fast.  I already have ideas of what Feast events I want to attend and will be watching like a hawk till the tickets become available in May.  I've already asked family and friends to plan their vacations around this event and so we're hoping for a nice crowd to share Feast Portland 2015 with!


    A four day event like no other, once you've attended, it's easy to feel the pull to attend each year.  This will be my third and if things go right, I'll be a guest blogger once again.  There's lots of perks to that job and I have enjoyed and learned so much over the past few Feast years and having an outlet to share it all is pretty great!  Follow here or on Feast Portland's site, Instagram or Twitter feed for info and don't miss out on anything!  It'll be here before you know it!

    Night Market 2013!

    Baby Got Beer Back… Feast 2013!


    Sandwich Invitational 2014!