Sunday, June 28, 2009

Etsy sale!

The Jump
photo by David Wheeler

I'm getting ready to bring in some new merchandise (Farmer's Market bags — finally!) so I'm clearing some space by offering all sweet skirts at 25% off now through July 15. These skirts are perfect for summer and make great gifts! And, as you can see from the photo above, they're very versatile!

More skirts will be in the shop soon. Let me know if there's a particular size/fabric you'd like to have.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Things I love about Portland: Sip

The first in an ongoing photo series.


Sip menu

lovely barrista making my smoothis

delicious Incredible Hulk

Though I've been living in Portland for 5 years now, I've only recently discovered Sip, the vegan smoothie trailer outside People's Co-op. There is something about this that just seems so very Portland!

(FYI, I'm drinking the Incredible Hulk, a delicious bled of fresh apple, ginger, kale, spinach, and lemon!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Music, v3

It's been a while since I posted the new music I've been listening to. As always, most of these discoveries happen via XM radio, which I love. It's like Tivo — I can't imagine ever going back to regular radio (or regular TV).

The Rat by Dead Confederate
My Own Worst Enemy by Stereophonics
The Rake's Song by Decemberists (I feel compelled to warn you that this is a pretty disturbing song. I don't even normally like The Decemberists. That said, there's a free download of this song at
Supermassive Black Hole by Muse
Grapevine Fires by Death Cab for Cutie
1901 by Phoenix
I Know What I Am by Band of Skulls
Always Where I Need to Be by The Kooks
Microphone by Coconut Records

Disclaimer: I listen to these songs on the radio, so I'm not endorsing the content of these videos. In most cases, I haven't even watched them (who has time to watch videos what with all the sewing, blogging, cooking, and general life-living!?) These links are just so you can check out the music.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Omnivore's Dilemma Giveaway — winners!

I am thrilled to say that everyone who commented gets a book! Instead of limiting winners to five, I decided to give away all eight books at once, since eight of you responded.

Please send your complete shippng information to me at I'll try to get them out this week.

And, if you are so inclined, I'd love to get a dialog going about the book. Feel free to post comments, thoughts, or questions here and let me know how the book effected you.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Berries and Fairies

first bounty

I titled this post Berries and Fairies, but I could have just as easily called it June in Portland. There is something about Portland that bestows a green thumb upon all who live here. Seriously. I kill plants. I kill all plants, always. But not here. The climate, the abundant rainfall, the hot summers, do something to the plants here which I can only compare to magic. We started with basically bare yards (actually, it was worse than that. We had 6-foot weeds. No lie.) and now our yards are amazing (ok, I'm realizing I need to take some photos to show you. That will have to happen next week).


Last summer, a neighbor offered us some raspberry starts. We stuck them up along a wooded fence and did nothing. That summer we had a nice amount of berries, but nothing like what's happening this year! In another week or two we're going to have a bounty of berries! This year we've added strawberries. These aren't that plentiful this year, but I'm hoping by next we have more strawberries than we can eat (ok, that will never happen!).

fairy house

To add to the beauty, a little fairy house, built by Anna and her uber-talented babysitter, Robin. When Robin was younger, she built elaborate fairy houses all over her parent's yard, complete with shell furniture and berry offerings. Hidden away in tall grasses and under bushes, they add a perfect little touch of magic to the yard.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kale chips

kale chips

I've been working out a technique to make homemade kale chips, and I think I've finally nailed it. If you haven't had kale chips before, they're crunchy and delicious, and a great way to get yourself (or other people who shall go unnamed!) to eat kale without the green-vegetable aversion.

You can buy kale chips, but they're pretty expensive and not all are created equal. Here's the result of my experimenting. Enjoy!

Kale chips
1 (or more) bunches kale
extra virgin olive oil
nutritional yeast (optional)

Wash and dry the kale (I used red kale here). Tear into smaller pieces (they will shrink further, so they don't need to be tiny). Toss with a few tablespoons olive oil and spread on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake first for 1 hour at 200 degrees. Give them a gentle stir after an hour and then bake again at 300 for 20-30 minutes.

prepping kale for chips

making kale chips

The chips should now be dry and crunchy. Once cool, sprinkle with nutritional yeast (this gives a cheesy taste) and add more salt or other spices if desired. Enjoy!

Update: I've discovered that if you keep these in a covered container, they lose their crunch and become tough and chewy. If that happens, you can revive them by placing them back in a 200-degree oven for about 10 minutes. But really, just eat them up the day you make them. That's when they're best!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Omnivore’s Dilemma — Giveaway!

omnivore's dilemma

Editor's note: click here to see the winners!

I am thrilled to announce my first giveaway! Thanks to an anonymous donor, I am giving away 5 copies of The Omnivore's Dilemma (I have a total of 8; I will give away the other 3 at a later date). I can only offer to pay for domestic shipping, so this offer applies only in the U.S.

As I've mentioned several times, I recently read The Omnivore's Dilemma and was profoundly effected by it. I was shocked and angered at how much I had been manipulated into thinking the food choices I was making were the best for my family and for the environment.

The author, Michael Pollan, describes in chilling detail what he learns when he digs deep into the world of big agribusiness. As its title indicates, this isn't a book intended to turn everyone into vegetarians. It's about understanding how we've come to be in the situation we're in, and what you can do to ensure that the foods you're buying are best for you, the animals, the farmers, and the environment.

The giveaway does come with a catch though — I'm asking you to read the book and then pass it on. I'd like to see just how many people can be effected by these 5 copies of the book. So, if you're willing, please put your first name and your city and state on the inside front cover on the book. When your done, pass it on to someone you think would enjoy reading it and ask them to do the same. That's it!

If you'd like to enter to receive a copy, just leave a comment to this post. I'll leave comments open until 5pm Friday, June 19, 2009 (PST). If there aren't many comments (i.e. 5 or fewer) you'll automatically receive a book. Otherwise I'll do a random number generator and announce the winners on Monday. Good luck!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Bins from the CSA delivery
CSA bins stacked and waiting for their recipients.

CSA produce week 1
The surprise contents of the first week's delivery. The contents are totally dependent on what's ripe the day before.

The princess and the potato
The princess and the (purple) potato.

I can't believe I forgot to mention the start of the CSA season as one of the things I am oh-so-excited about these days!

For those unfamiliar with the lingo, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, also sometimes referred to as a farm share or co-op. This is our third year with Gathering Together Farm, who just happens to have a weekly drop-off point at our neighbor's house across the street! Every Wednesday morning from June through October, the farm truck rolls up and unloads just-picked fruits and veggies! Seriously, I'm talking about the best fresh produce I've ever had.

The great thing about supporting a CSA is that the money actually goes to the farmers, not to big agriculture. GTF has been a working farm for 22 years, and has offered a CSA for 14. I know Oregon has many such options — maybe your town does too! The GTF website lists member benefits as follows:
  • Support a small family farm devoted to working in an ecological and sustainable manner.
  • Eat locally grown food harvested only a day or so before you pick it up, minimizing shipping and packing costs and maximizing freshness and flavor.
  • Strengthen our community by reestablishing the link between farmer, food, and families.

To that I would add the benefit of raising my daughter to understand that food doesn't come wrapped in little cellophane packages and that fresh produce is not only "good for you", but sooo delicious. Going over to pick up our box of surprise goodies has become an opportunity for many lessons about nature, biology, and organic farming.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


There are so many things going on these days — I feel like there's this electric charge around me, just buzzing constantly.

First of all, the end of the school year is this Thursday for us which means … summer vacation! I have to say, as an adult I've been pretty disappointed in the way summer feels a lot like the rest of the year (less so here in Portland, where the seasons are so pronounced). This is the first year that summer vacation will really mean something for Anna. We've got lots lined up, including ice skating lessons, music class, UCSB family camp (that will merit it's own post), and lots and lots of picnics, wading pool splashing, grilling, berry picking, homemade ice cream… yay for summer!

Yet another thing I'm buzzing about is my first-ever giveaway on this blog. A generous soul, who wishes to remain anonymous, is donating 8 copies of The Omnivore's Dilemma to you, dear readers! I've been so profoundly changed by this book and I'm so excited to be able to share it with you. Hang tight for details on the giveaway in the coming weeks.

Much of what always gets me excited is, of course, food. Many of you know that I have a scone issue — both that I love them and that I find it maddeningly difficult to get good ones here in Portland (although Crema does a pretty good job). I am happy to report that I have found two scone recipes that I believe show promise and I will dutifully test them (someone's got to do it!) and report back. For those who want to get going on your own, they are David Lebovitz' recipe here (although I would change the flavors), and the recipe found in A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, which is a fun mix of essays and recipes by Molly Wizenberg, of Orangette.

And, of course, I am getting reading for the first of the craft shows I'm participating in this Friday, on NE Fremont at 13th Avenue! If you're a local, please try to stop by between 4-8pm. I've been sewing like crazy, so there will be lots of new stuff to see.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wine country

When David and I were living in San Francisco, back in our double-income-no-kids days, we used to love going wine tasting with some of our more sophisticated friends. We especially loved going to the Russian River Valley, where we fell in love with big, jammy, California syrahs (which I have lost my taste for, becoming the Oregon-pinot-loving type).

Since moving to Portland, we haven't had much opportunity to go wine tasting, since dragging a child around wineries seems a bad idea (although I have seen people doing it!). This weekend, however, we had a chance to get away for a few hours and so we headed to the Willamette Valley, to sample the wares!

Our first stop was the quite large King Estate. Their wines are readily available at restaurants here and we'd heard the grounds were beautiful. They are one of the more commercial wineries in the area, and their wines were just what one might expect — predictable. We found them adequate, but generally unimpressive. They were also the only winery of the three we visited that charged for tastes ($5 per person). King Estate also has a large restaurant, where we had lunch. It was grey and chilly, but we chose to sit on the large patio and enjoy the view, which was lovely. On a sunny day it'd be a great place for lunch, but it's telling that we opted not to have a glass of wine with our meal.

King Estate

King Estate

King Estate

Our second stop was Chateau Lorane, a much smaller, family-run winery, situated in a lovely wooded area adjacent to a river. Along the road to their property we crossed paths with a fox (which I thought was a big cat) and a rather large deer. The setting here was beautiful — more rustic and more natural than King. The wine, unfortunately, was unremarkable. They did have an unusually good (for a local) port and some unique meads (honey wine). We bought 2 bottles of their apricot mead (on sale for $10 for two .375 bottles) to have as a dessert wine sometime this summer.

Chateau Lorane

Chateau Lorane

Our last stop was Sweet Cheeks, which we had been told was the best of the three. Again, the setting was gorgeous. To me, this was the perfect winery to bring a picnic on a warm day. The wines here were not amazing, but they were certainly fine. They had a rosé which had a remarkable nose and flavor, but was too sweet for our tastes. Their dry riesling was very dry, and their other wines were both palatable and reasonable in price. That said, we didn't feel compelled to buy anything.

Sweet Cheeks

Sweet Cheeks

Sweet Cheeks

Honestly, just being able to have a grown-up day together, regardless of the wines themselves, was what made the day. I'm almost glad we didn't find anything we felt like we had to buy! We were able to spend a day, taste the wines, and have a great time for very little expense. Given that I've still got a closet full of California syrahs, I'd say it's a good thing indeed!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Going green

green smoothie

Ok, I know it doesn't look green in the photo, but it's packed full of greens, and that's what matters!

I've been learning a lot lately from my friend, Ami, about raw food. She's a mostly-raw vegan, and a wealth of information. After a lifetime of smoothie-drinking, someone finally told me I could throw greens in there! With the weather finally being so summer-like, I'm loving drinking green smoothies pretty much daily. I'm fairly certain that going raw isn't for me, but I do think a diet of whole food, with as many fresh fruits and veggies is the way to go.

Here's what I start with for a large (24oz ) smoothie:
  • 2 bananas (I prefer frozen, but fresh work fine. To freeze, simply peel and break into chunks. Store in a freezer bag).
  • Assorted fresh or frozen fruits (I usually combine at least two of the following: mango, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, açai, raspberries)
  • Handful of spinach, chard, or beet greens
  • Generous dollop of nonfat, plain yogurt (I prefer Nancy's)

green smoothie

Other extras I may add in any combination:
  • Spirulina
  • Whey protein powder (I'm interested in trying hemp next)
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Goji berries (added on top after blending)

This week I'm doing some experimenting to see how I feel if I shift my diet to about half raw. I'll post results, as well as the best recipes, soon.

If you're raw-curious (I think I just made that up!), definitely check out Ami's website, as well as that of raw-food guru Ani Phyo. And let me know if you've dabbled and/or have any recipes or tips to share.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Local color

Here in Portland, it's been beautiful for so many weeks now that it already feels like summer. Today, however, is grey with promises of rain. So I offer you some of the colors I've been collecting these past few weeks.

Ami, my fashionista friend, at her son's 5th birthday party. (In case you're keeping track, Ami is also my vegan/raw foodie friend!)

Poppies are everywhere right now!

As are irises.

Anna's toes
Anna's toes, colored with washable marker (a favorite hack of mine!).

Because I am in love with all the poppies in bloom right now!

I don't know what these are, but they're so lovely. Their colors, against the faded paint of this house, has a very etherial quality to me.

The scale here reminds me of Alice in Wonderland!

Enjoy the rain, locals! The sun returns tomorrow.

Rhubarb coffeecake

rhubarb coffeecake

This shall be known in my house as the spring of rhubarb! Really, how many recipes for rhubarb do I need? This one, however, is the one. If I can only ever make one rhubarb dish again, it will be this coffeecake.

This recipe came to me from another mom at Anna's school. Last year, when I organized an ObamaMama bake sale (we raised $1,200!), this cake was one of the items donated for sale. Being concerned about quality assurance on our products, I dutifully tasted it and decided that it had to be mine.

Six months later, I received a note from Heidi (the baker of said cake) saying that it was time to harvest her rhubarb and would I like some, along with the recipe for her coffeecake. As good as whispering sweet nothings into my ear, that was!

And now, dear readers, I bestow upon you the same gift (well, minus the rhubarb). Enjoy!

Springtime Rhubarb Coffeecake (modified from A Taste of Oregon)

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
1t. salt
1t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
1 c. white flour
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 c. finely cut rhubarb

For the topping:
1T. butter (cut into little pieces)
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. oats
(I also added a couple tablespoons of ground flax)

Mix cake ingredients except rhubarb in a large bowl. Stir in rhubarb. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over cake batter. Bake at 350 F. for 35 minutes (note: it may be a lot longer if you have added more rhubarb).