Just now, as I’m editing the photos you’ll see here in a second, my dear friend Josh gmail chatted me and asked what I was doing.  When I told him I was working on a blog, he said, “THE blog?  Stuff must be up.”  Yeah yeah yeah, I seldom post here anymore, I know.  I’m grateful you all take an interest in my whereabouts.  But he’s right, there’s a lot going on.  It’s summer afterall!  But moreso than that….

God is rushing in to still my fears and reverse the lies.  I’m still trying to grasp it all and believe it all.
I’ve been sad that I’m single and haven’t found that kind of love.  But I am so very loved by many. 
I’ve been sad that I don’t make a lot of money and don’t have the luxury to go out to nice meals with friends and buy the clothes I want at Anthropologie or the furniture & housewares I want at West Elm.  But I live in a farmhouse on a vineyard in the country and eat healthy delicious food and have clothes on my back and a bed to sleep in and a car to get me from A to B.  I have more than I need.
And the beautiful combination of these two realizations is manifest in this little group of new friends who are all like-minded in our love for community, beauty, tilth, simple luxuries, and FUN!  We’ve been making the most of our Mondays together lately and it has been a delight to all of us.
My life might look like Pinterest and Kinfolk, and in many ways it is.  So I’ll raise a glass to the up days and be grateful that they sustain me through the down ones.
Monday Candlelight
Monday Cheers Monday DinnerPhoto Cred: Rachel Getsinger Monday Getsingers Monday glass Monday Golden Hour Monday Golden Monday Green VIew Monday Luke Galette Monday Luke Saber Monday Luminous GirlfriendsPhoto Cred: Rachel Getsinger Monday merry Rachel Monday PorchPhoto Cred: Rachel Getsinger Monday Red Barn Golden Monday Roommates Monday Spread Monday Sundown Monday Table Monday Tree Monday Twilight

Am I the only one who has noticed that there seems to be a dichotomy in social media posting?  There are people who only Instagram and FB photos of the amazing food they’re eating at a hip new restaurant, their super cute and well dressed toddler, brag about how many miles they ran that morning, or flaunt their courtside seats, their dreamy new farmhouse, the vineyard that is in bloom in their backyard, the organic farm down the street (see where this is going?) etc.

But there are also people who do a lot of complaining, dirt-airing, opinion voicing, and just plain bitching and moaning on FB.  Am I right?

The truth is, though, every rose has its thorn.

My rose has a pretty big thorn right now.  It may seem like my life is a dream: second row seats at the Blazers game, farmhouse in wine country, vineyard in my backyard, cutest/sweetest dog in the world, amazing roommate, dream job, barrel tasting, complimentary dinners at a 5-star restaurant, trip to Hood River with Lindsay, sunshine, puppies, roses, and chocolate-covered-perfection.

But let me be real for a minute and tell you the recent flip side: I just got fired from my dream job, I got rear-ended and my car got totaled, I owe some late fees, I dislocated my knee and still have a hell of a time walking up and down stairs, I’m single, heavier than I want to be, struggle with body-image, and some nights eat spoonfuls of peanut butter and feel super guilty for it.

Mountaintops and valleys low, people.  I’m straddling that line.

Right after I got fired, I drove up to Portland to meet up with Lindsay & Co. for our last Blazers game.  She recently went through a season of unemployment and encouraged me to be real about how I was feeling.  She knows that I’m a glass-half-full type of gal and gave me the space to feel sad, mad, anxious, freaked out, like a failure, whatever.  And I did for about point five seconds.

But I’m fine.  Really, I am.  I’ve never not worked so having some time to be at home, cook food, plant a garden, refurbish old furniture, have my mom come visit, hang out with Jackie and Che-dog, regain strength in my knee and go running again, and invite people over has been SO great.  I’m certain and hopeful that a new and meaningful door will open in just the right place.

I am not forgotten and will be taken care of.  I know this.

So I’ll keep posting pictures of the vineyard, my super cute dog, the blooming farmhouse, and the food I eat.  But now you all know that my rose has a thorn and probably always will.

And now, my life in photos:

Let me see a raise of hands from those of you who watched Food, Inc. and decided to NEVER EVER EVER IN A MILLION YEARS eat any meat that came from Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina or basically anywhere but here.  Two hands are going up for this girl.  I was traumatized by the images of dark, dirty, densely populated chicken coops, bovines walking around in their own fecal matter….  I’ll stop.  I want this blog to make your mouth water, not leave a bitter taste.

I joined some of my Portland food blogger friends, new and old, and the gals from Little Green Pickle last week for a kitchen tour, butchery lesson, and family style meal at Urban Farmer in The Nine’s Hotel (did you know it’s Portland only 5-star restaurant?).  Executive Chef Matt Christianson is the MAN when it comes to sourcing and butchering local beef.  Grab a glass of bubbles or pinot and enjoy a little photo tour…

Not a bad way to be greeted: 2009 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs. And lots of it.

The lovely Lindsay of Rosemarried enjoying some bubbles. If you can see past her beauty, notice all the canned goods in the background. Urban Farmer cans and pickles all of their seasonal goodies to enjoy throughout the year.

UF Shrimp Salad with Avocado and Hama Hama Oyster to enjoy with our bubbly and hold us over until we get to to dinner portion of the evening.

 

Matt gave us a tour of some of the restaurants walk-in fridges. This one had literally a whole 100% Wagyu cow in there! See that big old rib rack? We ate that for dinner in the form of a New York steak and Rib Eye.

Did you know that just like cheese and wine, steaks are even better when they're aged?

Any guesses on what he's slicing there? Yup, cow tongue. Charcuteried cow tongue. Matt doesn't waste a thing! If you can get past the appearance of it, you'd be surprised at how a slice of that tongue melted in my mouth.

How many butchers does it take to disassemble a whole wagyu cow? The whole thing weighs upwards of 900lbs!

 

That big block of white--fat from the cow rendered down into soap and candle wax that they use at Urban Farmer! Smells like bergamot. Mmmmmmmmmm good.

Time to eat! Dungeness Crab Cake wrapped in a tarragon scallop mousse with Pear, Butternut Squash and Mustard Aioli. So perfect with the 2011 Soter North Valley Chardonnay.

In the front: French Curry Cauliflower with Apple and Tarragon. In the back: New York Steak from Dry-Aged Laney Classic Beef and Ribeye Steak from La de Route Farm's 100% Pure-Blood Wagyu Beef. All that meat from the previous photos--butchered and cooked to perfection!

Matt giving us a run-down of the veggies. Stinging Nettles (hence the gloves) and Miner's Lettuce are the first things to pop up in spring. Did you know that this year was not good for Oregon Truffles? It was a great year for chanterelles though!

 

After we had stuffed ourselves to the max, of course we headed up to Departure to have a night cap. Tasho Macho: amazeballs. Thai chili vodka, thai basil, fresh citrus, and ginger beer. Thankyouverymuch! We had some seriously good laughs up there.

And the finale: elevator party! Clockwise from top: Lindsay of Rosemarried, Michelle of Hummingbird High, yours truly, Kusuma (Kumi) from Ruchikala, Fabiola from Not Just Baked, Carrie from Little Green Pickle, Brooke from Little Green Pickle, and Karen from CitySearch. Not pictured: Jenni from A Well Crafted Party.

I’m sure you’re all wondering what the entire menu for the evening included.  Well, eat your heart out readers:

  • UF Shrimp Salad with Avocado and Hama Hama Oyster
  • Dungeness Crab Cake with Pear, Butternut Squash and Mustard Aioli
  • Roasted West Coast Duck with Beets, Wild Rice and Amaranth
  • An Amuse-Bouche of Celery Sorbet with Truffle Honey, House Coppa, and Tangerine
  • New York Steak from Dry-Aged Laney Classic Beef
  • Ribeye Steak from La de Route Farms’s 100% Pure-Blood Wagyu Beef (what we butchered!)
  • Brussels Sprouts with Molasses Pecan Butter and Quince
  • French Curry Cauliflower with Apple and Tarragon
  • Twice-Baked Fingerling Potato Tarts
  • White Cheddar Grits with Stinging Nettle Butter
  • A Dessert of Spiced Chocolate Panna Cotta and Mascarpone Ice Cream

I have to say, as much fun as this dinner was, I missed the Taylor Swift sing-along with Carrie’s wife Jannie.  She was sorely missed.

I’m inspired by these woman.  What an honor it is to be in the midst of some of the best bloggers in Portland.  And now I get to call them friends as well.  Y’all should read what these ladies are putting on their blogs–AMAZING!

Thanks again to Little Green Pickle and Urban Farmer for such a fun night!  Cheers.

Who doesn’t love a good cliché?  Ok, here I go with mine:

2013 is the year where my dreams become realities.

Maybe not all of them, but some of the big ones.  2012 is when I got a dream job: Hospitality Coordinator at Soter Vineyards.  And January of this year is when I got my dream house: a turn-of-the-century farmhouse on a vineyard.  I get to live with a dear & kindred friend Jackie.  We’ll hopefully be getting a dog soon.  And since I’m holding onto hope for my dreams this year, I’ll just go ahead and announce that I’ll meet my dream man sometime in the next 9 months (with an air of skepticism).

I may not post as many recipes on this blog in the upcoming year, but you’re all invited to come to the farmhouse and live life with me.  To start, here are a couple photos of the new digs for you.  This house inspires me–the bones, the floors, the light, the surroundings, the people, everything.  And it’s only just begun.  I’ll be raising many glasses to this upcoming season.  Hope you can come over and sit on the porch with me soon.

Isn't she lovely? Photo cred goes to Jackie.

 

Scored the end table at Goodwill for $12.99!

Crazy for this Kilim rug. I'm obsessed with finding fun ideas on Pinterest. I'd love to be featured on the Apartment Therapy blog soon. New sofa coming soon, too!

OBSESSED with Kilim.

Love this old green frame. I strung twine behind it and put up postcards, photos, fun prints, and any momento I've collected along the way--old hymns, brother's save-the-date for his wedding, watercolors my grandpa painted, etc.

Beautiful birthday cards, a coaster from my visit to New Belgium Brewery in Ft. Collins, CO, the sunset from my parents house a photo of Toni Morrison taken by Annie Liebowitz, ...

Another Pinterest inspired design idea: using pant hangers for prints. Love the old map of Manhattan on the right.

Old trunk, new lamp, bold prints.

Crafty housewarming love from my friend and old roommate Tayler from www.awkwardolive.com

Apartment Therapy recommends jazzing up a rental by replacing the switch plates. I got these beauties from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I have them all over the house and I absolutlely love them! They remind me of that magical city.

Your room! AKA the guest room. I snagged some wood pallets from work for the bedframe. So fun, SUPER easy, and cheap (of free:) ). Please come stay!

This is what you'll wake up too in the guest room.

The front porch...*sigh*. It came with the American flag and the heart cut-outs. The red rocking chair is mine and fits perfectly. I'll be drinking a lot of coffee & wine, and reading & writing out here on the daily when the weather gets good.

I loooove bathrooms with natural light....like this one.

Now onto the kitchen. The switch plate should look familiar. These watercolor plates are my color inspriation for the kitchen island and stools (which aren't finished so you won't see them today).

The patron saint of the kitchen. All the ladies in my family have him proudly displayed in their kitchens. He can only be found in San Miguel de Allende as well.

Glass bottles & vases, sunlight, and a jade.

My friend Liesl sent me the perfect housewarming card: The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.

Another mantra for the farmhouse: Love people. Cook them tasty food.

Morning glow in the kitchen.

This is definitely NOT our kitchen, but this is Jackie. And our nut butters. Homemade baby!

 

 

 

 

If you remember, a couple months ago I was half packed with one foot out the door ready to join Outstanding in the Field on a 5 month foodie circus adventure traveling around the country setting up farm dinners in gorgeous settings.  After several rounds of interviews, they ended up going with the other candidates, leaving me behind in Oregon.  Boohoo, waaah waaah, woe is me, right?  Well, I spent one day letting myself be sad that the door had closed on my adventure and I wasn’t chosen to join this team of amazing people (although they did invite me to be part of their 2 Oregon dinners in July).  But the following day, I was overwhelmed with GRATITUDE and THANKFULNESS that I get to live in Oregon and be here during the best part of the year and continue to plant my roots here.

You see, the vision I had in my head and heart was me driving down a beautiful stretch of country road wearing my straw cowgirl hat, golden fields in the background, hand stretched out the window floating up and down in waves, with the warm sunshine on my face.  That was the vision of Heaven for me.

God has a way of redeeming what was dreamed of and lost, though.  I was suppose to email OITF a couple weeks before they came to town to nail down a plan to work with them, but I didn’t.  I thought about it but just never had the motivation to contact them and make arrangements.  Something in me told me to let go and let them come through Oregon without me.  And it’s a good thing I listened to that because I spent the very evening they were hosting the dinner that I was “supposed” to be at enjoying the best part of Oregon with one of my best friends, Rachel, doing exactly what I had envisioned doing: driving down a beautiful stretch of country road wearing my cowboy hat, golden fields in the background, hand stretched out the window floating up and down in waves, with the warm sunshine on my face.  I didn’t need to leave Oregon to experience that slice of Heaven.  The loss of that dream was redeemed by the truth of my reality.

Some highlights of the evening: farm fresh eggs, a white horse in the pasture, very talkative goats and chickens, driving down Stafford/Wilsonville/Mountain Road, etc with the top down, skinny dipping at Hegg Park after dark, a delicious dinner at the farmhouse with good wine, red barns, green barns, blue barns, blasting Keith Urban thru the speakers, and a gorgeous sunset.

Turns out, I didn’t need a soul-stirring adventure on a bus traveling around the country. I’m right where I should be and loving every moment of the Oregon summer.

I may have received one of the best gifts EVER from some club members in the tasting room this weekend: 8 freshly caught Dungeness crab from Netarts Bay on the Oregon coast.  Seriously, who are these people??  They said they only caught 27 that day but still had plenty to give away.  27 seems like a lot of crab to me, but 300 is what they catch on a normal day.  Yowza!

I enjoyed half of it on Sunday evening up at the gorgeous Tuscan villa above the vineyard with its owners Carrie and Bernie and my fellow tasting room gal, Christie.  Nothing like overlooking a 200 acre vineyard and beautiful garden with fresh crab and organic veggies from to match.  Oh, and wine.  Plenty of Oregon wine.

Today, those crabbies weren’t quite as fresh as they were on Sunday but they were still delicious and needed some attention.  So, I sat out in the sunshine in my new backyard, surrounded by fruit trees, flowers, herbs, and veggies, and shelled a huge bowl full of crab.  Bernie sent me home with some peas from his garden and I knew I wanted to include those in this salad.  I searched for a recipe and put 4 or 5 different ones together and used what I had in the herb garden.  I’m pleasantly surprise with how delicious this summer meal turned out. Enjoy!

Dungeness Crab Stuffed Avocados with Snow & Snap Peas

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh crab meat
3 ripe avocados, halved
1 cup snow and/or snap peas, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (1 cup total, not each unless you really like peas)
2+ tbsp fresh basil
, chopped
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
2 tbsp shallot, diced
juice and zest of one medium lemon

3 tbsp mayo
salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

Slice avocados in half and scrape out some of the middle to make room for the crab salad.  What you do with the excess avo is up to you.  Garnish the top, turn into guac, save for your morning scramble…

Mix up the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and make sure to taste as you go.  I over salted mine just a little bit.  Then, stuff dem avocados and dig in.  I ended up putting mine over a bed of lettuce and making it a green salad.

The only sad part about this meal is that I didn’t have a single bottle of wine in the house to enjoy.  I was craving my all time favorite summer white: 2011 Coeur de Terre Pinot Gris.  It citrusy, herbal and so so delicious.  My pal Ryan works there and has hooked me up with probably a case of it.  Can’t get enough!

Well folks, I hope you receive a delicious gift from some good people this week.  Maybe you’ll need to give a gift first…

 

 

Gratitude.

That’s what I have for where I live.  When I take the time to go on country drives, explore the valley, and meet new people, that’s when I truly overflow with gratefulness.  This week has been a beautiful one.  I shared a great meal and some great Oregon wine at Pauleé with some wonderful mid-west tourists I met in the tasting room.  I appeared in the July Issue of the Oregon Wine Press alongside 2 other admirable wine country food bloggers. I spent some quality time with a new friend at the farm she’s WWOOFing at in McMinnville, picked Rainier cherries from their tree and planned some Oregon adventures with her.  I started the 4th of July off with mimosas and breakfast with Rachel (it’s our tradition…love it) and continued the celebration with a couple near and dear friends in the small Americana town of Silverton and pretty much drank amazing Sangria, picked berries, and ate BBQ all day long.  Nothing like soaking up the country.  And right now I’m enjoying day 3 of my 3-day weekend on a farm off Stafford Rd in Tualatin.  The weather is perfect and I have nothing to do all day except go celebrate my dear friend/soon-to-be-Mrs later this evening.  Life is good and summer is finally here!

Of course I took some photos…

 

And in case you’re wondering how I made this fabulous Sangria, here’s how:

Ingredients: (serves…8??  Maybe more, maybe less?)

3 cups mixed fresh fruit, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, if needed: cherries, raspberries, blueberries, marionberries, peaches, and cantaloupe are what I used
1 bottle Pinot Noir (I used Arachon Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot.  $6.08 at Winco…score!)
1 bottle Tualatin Estate Semi-Sparkling Muscat
2 cups fruit juice (I used Simply Lemonade with Mango)
1 cup Triple Sec (unless you’re heavy handed…)

Method:

Make sure all your ingredients are cold before starting.  Once chilled, stir everything together in a large pitched or punch bowl.   To serve, pour over ice into a wine or old fashioned glass and be careful because you can easily drink a lot of this ;)

Happy Summer, Oregonians!  Hope yours is off to a great start and may your weekends be booked with fun outdoor adventures.

This will be short and sweet.

I get to look out on this on weekends:

And hang out with them:

And enjoy this–u-picked Sauvie Island raspberries soaked in Semi-Sparkling Muscat thanks to some club members:

I’m grateful and overwhelmed with beautiful that entices every sense.  And I’m willing to share (read: come visit me!).

What does summer look like where you live?

I’m the kind of girl who, if I find something I love, I’ll repeat it over and over again (sometimes until I’m sick of it…whoops!) until I’ve found something else I love that needs repetition.  If I find a song I love, I’ll listen to it on repeat for days.  If I find the most beautiful back country road, I’ll drive down it again and again to soak it all in.  If I find a recipe that I love and is healthy, I’ll make it every day for a week and eat nothing but that.

My brother’s lovely lady got me an awesome cookbook for Christmas this last year and I’ve started making some of the recipes out of it.  It’s called Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents by Cynthia Lair.  She knows full well that I have no babies or young children, (and am FAR from having them) but she knew that I’d love this cookbook.  And right she was.  I left it out in the rain one day a few months ago and thought I had ruined it.  Fortunately, I was able to save it, but now it just looks extra loved and a little more dog-eared than the everyday cookbook.

I found a few recipes that I wanted to tweak a little so I took some liberties and came up with this colorful and bright salad.  You’ll want to eat this all day everyday.  Cynthia calls it the Emerald City Salad, but since I don’t live in the Emerald City and my adaptation is a bit different, I’m giving it a new name.

Bright Bounty Salad
Adapted from Feeding the Whole Family

Ingredients:

Salad:
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup fennel bulb, chopped
1/2 red pepper, diced
4-5 yellow or orange small sweet peppers, diced
1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
2 cups mixed hearty greens (kale, chard, etc), chopped
1 cup roasted chicken, shredded (optional, but great addition to make this salad a full meal)
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds

Dressing:
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
3 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 fresh basil

Method:

Place garlic, mustard, honey, and vinegar in a blender and blend well.  While the blender is still running, slowly drizzle in olive oil to allow the dressing to emulsify.  Once blended, add in the basil and pulse a few times to blend and turn the dressing green.

In a large bowl, throw together the quinoa, fennel, peppers, cabbage, greens, and chicken.  Toss with a good drizzle of the dressing, and top with the sunflower seeds and fresh basil.  Serve in wide bowls with a nice chilled glass of rosé…and then repeat. 

 

 

 

(PS: I kinda hate WordPress right now).

But let’s talk about Heaven.  I think we’ll probably eat a lot of this (this is hands down the best thing I have ever tasted):

And I bet we’ll be drinking a lot of this:

And it’ll hopefully look an awful lot like this:

And wouldn’t it be nice to listen to this all the time:

Fire by Night by Josh Garrels

What would you want to eat/drink/see/listen to for the rest of time?

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