Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

Summer bounty!

If I had a choose word to describe my summer, it would probably be uncertainty. Between transitions in my job and missing friends and family in San Francisco, I felt a little out of control. For an ESFJ/Capricorn/Type A person like me, that is not a very comfortable place to be.

Although work and life things felt up in the air this summer, when looking back at my photos from the summer, I was struck by the predictability of the garden. Sure, there are hiccups and changes based on weather, but there is definitely a pattern.

First comes the fruit.





We had more plums this year than I knew what to do with. Most were cooked down into a compote and went into the freezer.

After the fruit, comes squash and cucumbers.



More squash and cherry tomatoes.


Once the days get long, the chickens start going into egg production overdrive. We have had a ton of double yolked eggs this summer (below are two cracked into a bowl). So yum.



And in August, the tomatoes are practically flying out of the garden. I roasted most of them and put them in the freezer for stews and sauces this winter.




The very last of our San Marzanos were cooked down into a sauce with wine, garlic, and basil. Delicious.




Now that summer has come to an end, we fall into our fall and winter routines – switching to flannel sheets, roasting root vegetables, baking pumpkin bread, and catching up on HBO. Although work and life still feels uncertain, I’m finding stability in the changing of the seasons and the knowledge that the world keeps on turning.

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Summer garden

Here’s a few photos of our garden this summer.

Ryan added a little run for our chickens on the side of the coop. They love it!


Early summer.



We also added a trellis for green beans! They climbed up all the way to the top!




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Our yard

Ryan and I bought our house in 2010, and almost immediately started working on the (very) overgrown yard. We tore down a dilapidated structure, pulled out invasive trees, vines, and tons of old rose bushes (thanks to Elena), and Ryan built us an amazing chicken coop and shed out of reclaimed wood and windows.

This summer, we tackled the lawn.

A few before shots:



And after!




We love it so much we did a campout one night!


I think the yard is just about finished – now to tackle the rest of the house!

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Summer is just about wrapping up in Portland, and we are still getting tons of tomatoes in our garden! I’ve been roasting and freezing most of them, so we can have good garden tomatoes all winter.

This year I planted several yellow and green varieties, and wanted to use them in a special way. This soup is tangy, sweet, and absolutely delicious – perfect for the first day of Fall!



Golden cherry tomatoes, green zebras, green cherry tomatoes, and blush tomatoes.

Chop tomatoes roughly.


This was about 8 cups of tomatoes. You don’t have to use yellow and green ones if you don’t have any! Red tomatoes would be delicious too.


In a medium pot, sauté one large onion (chopped roughly) with a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat.


Add a few cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled.



Add a few tablespoons of fresh herbs. I had oregano and rosemary on hand; but any combination of thyme, basil, or sage would be great.


Let everything cook down for about 15 minutes, or until onions are translucent.


Add the tomatoes, and a few teaspoons of kosher salt. Let everything simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the tomatoes have cooked down and the liquid is bubbly.


Add a quart of chicken broth. If you are a vegetarian, you can use vegetable broth.


Once everything is simmering, turn down the heat and use an immersion blender until the soup is smooth.


Garnish with a little cooked and chopped bacon.




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On Saturday night, Ryan and I had the most wonderful dinner at The Side Yard Farm.

The Side Yard Farm is a small urban farm NE Portland that provides local restaurants with produce. The owner, Stacey Givens, is also an amazing chef, and hosts farm-to-table meals every now and then.

Before dinner, we got to poke around the farm.

It was really fun to see a professional urban farm – definitely inspiring for my own garden.

Hoop house for tomatoes, basil, and peppers.

And of course, chickens.

On to the food! This was a special Bastille Day dinner. 5 courses, with really incredible wine parings. Vive la France!

There was a lovely lavender lemon water on the table while we were getting settled.

Menu printed by Cumbersome Multiples.

French Breakfast Radish, with Nasturtium “Capers” and Butter

Halibut. Shaved Kohlrabi. Lil’ Peas & Carrots. Lemon Verbena Beurre Blanc.

Summer GreensFlowers. Herbs. Plum Vinaigrette.  Soft Sheep Cheese. Farm Egg.

Crispy Pork. Rubystreak Mustard Greens. Pickled Cherries. Tarragon

Salt n’ Pepper French Shortbread. Blueberries. Basil & Chevre Ice Cream (actually instead of shortbread, this is a soft gluten free raspberry cookie, which was amazing! So sweet that they accommodated me)

And the wine!

This was one of the best meals we have had in Portland. Everything was so fresh and bright. I can’t wait to go back!

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Hope you had a lovely weekend!

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Life via Instagram
























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ad hoc

While we were in California, we finally got to eat at ad hoc, Thomas Keller’s more casual restaurant. Oh my goodness it as amazing.

My parents were so nice and drove us out to Yountville to meet up with Megan and John. On the way, we had to stop at Dean and Deluca. I can’t believe I’ve never been there before!

So many fancy sodas.

My mom is so wonderful. I miss her!

What a hottie!

We had some time before dinner, so we walked around the garden at the French Laundry. It was such a beautiful day!

 <3 <3

It was a pretty lovely place.

Chicken coop!

On to the food! ad hoc serves a 4 course meal that is different each day. It’s served family style, which was really fun.

Amazing salad with smoked trout, haricots verts, cherry tomatoes, and creamy dill dressing. So good!

Braised pork ribs, apples and mushrooms, and broccolini. This might have been the best pork I have ever had.

Polenta with caramelized shallots. omg.

Cana de oveja – this is a really amazing creamy sheep’s milk cheese. We had a lot of this in Spain.

Served with a cherry and pistachio compote.

And dessert! Delicious little fig financiers .

And amazing hazelnut ice cream.

Best and cutest dinner companions.

Ah I can’t wait to go again someday!

Megan and John drove us to San Francisco, and we checked into the Phoenix Hotel.

We took a huge walk all around Union Square. San Francisco is a really beautiful city. We also walked over to where we had our first kiss (like 8 years ago!).

We stopped into the swanky hotel bar for a drink and a midnight snack before bedtime.

Bourbon and soda. Best.

Absurdly delicious mascarpone truffle dip with house chips.


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Earlier this summer I planted three dill plants, which quickly sprouted up into giant dill bushes. I was thinking about tearing them out, because they were blocking the sun for our pepper plants. They didn’t look very pretty either.

Upon closer inspection I found that the dill plants were attracting tons and tons of ladybugs! The bushes were covered with larvae.

I also spotted a beautiful dragonfly just hanging out in the dill.

So pretty.

Hopefully this means I am closer to having a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat! A girl can dream, right?

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First tomatoes

We had some HOT weather in Portland this weekend. I am not a hot weather fan, but it does ripen tomatoes, which are my favorite thing to grow and eat.

Today’s garden haul: beets, carrots, bell pepper, onions, tomatoes, eggs.

This is a very large beet. Yum!

And tomatoes!

I am planning to eat these for breakfast.

And our first big tomato of the season!

So lovely.

I got really sweaty in the garden.

Ryan worked on the greenhouse/shed today.

It is looking awesome!

Those windows are from The Rebuilding Center, which is one of the raddest places in Portland.

What a cutie.

So what did I do with those beets and carrots? I roasted most of the beets in the toaster oven (wrapped in foil, 400 degrees for 45 minutes), and will use them on salads for the rest of the week.

Mega beet got peeled and grated in the food processor, along with the carrots, and a few small onions.

I made a simple dressing with red wine vinegar, a few spoonfuls of peach jam, salt, pepper, and some olive oil. The peach jam I made was no-sugar added, and the peaches weren’t very sweet last summer, so the jam is good for savory items like a vinaigrette. This is a super easy and refreshing salad! Perfect for a superhot day! Yay!

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