Monday, June 27, 2011

PDX Food Swap Meets Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking

We've been craving sunshine in Portland almost as much as juicy tomatoes and rosy red cherries, and last Friday night, by a lovely stroke of fortune, the happy-to-please-you weather gifted PDX Food Swappers with a balmy evening for enjoying good food and company in honor of Kate Payne's visit to town.

Since her April book release, Kate has been mixing and mingling with Food Swap friends all around the country on her Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking book tour, and PDX Swappers and Lost Arts Kitchen eagerly played hostess as she made her way through the Pacific Northwest stretch.

Location: Lost Arts Kitchen, NE Portland
Setting: The perfectly warm, slightly breezy, blooming-with-color, and bustling-with-chickens back yard.

Note: PDX Food Swap = Delicious Swap Potluck.
So many delectable choices on the menu!

Swap items too numerous to count...
Onion Jam and Caramelize Onion Marmalade
Homemade Bruschetta
Pickled Asparagus
Basil Strawberry Syrup
Canned Nectarines
Green Tomato Relish
Dijon Mustard with Balsamic, White, and Red Wine Vinegars
Home Canned Heirloom Tomatoes
Honey Sweetened Applesauce
Salsa Verde
Wine Jelly
Cranberry Jelly
Raspberry, Blueberry, Strawberry Jam
Honey Sweetened Apricot Habanero Jam
Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert Sauce
Blueberry Muffins
Chocolate Caramel Apples
Gluten Free Quinoa Chocolate Cake
Fresh Herbs
Home Brewed Kombucha
Espresso Syrups
Homemade Granola
Smoked Almonds
Plum Liqueur
Ginger Brews...and so much more!

Friends from all over the city (NW, NE, SW, SE) and from the corners of the internet...
(Were you there? Send a note with your Twitter handle, and I'll add your name to the list!)

Kate, graciously signing copies and chatting with new friends...

I believe Kate sold out of her rental-car-trunk-stash of Hip Girl's Guides, and my friend, Miranda, let me know that she picked up the last copy at Powell's Books just a week ago (hopefully they've replenished the shelves by now?). In the meantime, you may snatch one of the in-stock copies at Amazon, or place a hold at the local library!

For tidbits on other recent tour stops and Food Swaps, see posts and picture collections from our regional neighbors:

SF Swappers
Grow & Resist
Seattle Seedling
Bellingham Food Swap

Bethany, Chris, and Kate

Connect with Kate/Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking:
Hip Girl's Online | Facebook | @hipgirls

Connect with the PDX Food Swap:
Web | Facebook | @pdxswappers

Connect with Chris Musser at Lost Arts Kitchen:
Lost Arts Kitchen | Facebook | @lostartskitchen

Thank you so much to each of you who make up our community: we are blessed with such terrific Portland-area devotees of food culture and friendship. It's an honor to swap food and stories and inspiration.

Safe travels to Kate and Joann as they finish the West Coast Tour, and thank you especially to Chris for opening her home to host the evening!

If you're itching to swap...keep your eyes and ears open! We've just announced the date for the Summer Swap (Saturday, June 30, 2011at 7pm at Abby's Table), and more details will follow soon...


Thursday, June 23, 2011

July Food Group: Summer Successes and Inspirations

The summer sunshine is finally putting on a friendly face! Gardens are growing, CSA deliveries have begun, berries are making their way into preserves...

...and new month around the corner means Food Group!

the early days of Sustainable Food for Thought, we've be so encouraged by the opportunity to swap stories and share resources with friends and neighbors. In that vein, for July's Food Group we'll be sharing a light potluck meal and facilitating a discussion on Summer Successes and Inspirations.

Please bring one or all of the following:
  • A tried and true recipe, method, or tip you've discovered since last summer
  • A story about a Sustainable Living flop + lessons learned from the experience
  • A recommended recent read (book, article, blog post) that prompted thought
  • A new project you'd like to learn about (since chances are high that someone in the group will have a valuable 2¢ to share on the topic)

You Are Welcome~
Wednesday, July 7th, 7:00-8:30pm
Bethany's Home
92nd & NE Burnside, Portland, Oregon
Please RSVP for Directions & To Reserve Your Spot

As always, please feel free to bring a snack, bring a friend,
and join us for an evening of conversation and camaraderie.
Looking forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GMOs and Labeling

Food Renegade published a must-read article today about GMO labeling. Check it out...

Do you believe in the Whole Foods fairy?

She used to be your garden variety woodland sprite, but times are hard and sorting mountains of corn and soy for Whole Foods is a sweet gig. Just sprinkle a little magical fairy dust and VOILA! The genetically modified feed separates from the conventional feed in a snap.
Continue reading at Food Renegade...


Monday, June 13, 2011

Aurora Local Foods – Support Your Local Farmer!

Note from Bethany: After learning about Aurora Local Foods through a friend on Facebook and reading an article from the Wilsonville Spokesman, I've been keen to help spread the word about this new endeavor growing south of the Portland Metro Area.

This week, my good friend Rebekah Pike shares her first-hand experience with the internet-based company that connects local buyers with competitively priced foods produced on nearby farmlands:

{ Aurora Local Foods Pick-up Location }

I should start this by saying that I love farmers’ markets. I start anxiously anticipating the opening of my local market months in advance, like a kid counting off the days until Christmas. I’m the crazy one who shows up even on the rainiest days, reusable bags in hand and toddler in tow. I brag about my purchases to anyone who will listen and have been known to slap down money for items that I have absolutely no menu plan for, just because they look interesting.

Hello, my name is Rebekah – and I’m addicted to my farmers’ market.

But I’m not so in love with the traditional market concept that I can’t see its limitations.
For one thing, depending on your neighborhood, it can be pricey. Really pricey. I’ve noticed again and again that most vendors are extremely savvy to the price point expectations of their customer base and that prices from stand to stand rarely vary by more than $0.25 or so. This doesn’t really bother me when I’m making everyday purchases, but when I’m looking to buy 10 or 20 pounds of an item for a preserving project, shopping my beloved farmers’ market becomes less practical.

The second problem I’ve discovered is the investment of time. I have to drive through several miles of notoriously congested suburbia to get to my favorite market. Then I have to circle the site, squeeze into a tiny parallel parking spot, coax my toddler (or bribe her with promises of a cookie) into her stroller and walk several more blocks. Once there, I have the crowd of fellow farmers’ market addicts to wade through, the price comparison shopping to do, lines to wait in … in spite of my addiction, I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

So, while I have absolutely no intention of breaking up with my farmers’ market, I was excited to discover a fresh, new model for direct-from-the-farm purchasing in Aurora Local Foods.

This is essentially a cooperative of local farmers who sell their products through a website run by business owner Matt Battilega of Big “B” Farms in Aurora. The beauty of this idea is that it is both convenient for the customers and an efficient business model for the farmers. Rather than having to drive from farm to farm, customers can shop online from several different farms at once and pick everything up at a designated time and location. Rather than delivering their products to the market, which then may or may not sell, the farmers only have to deliver what the customer has already selected and paid for.


Here’s how it works: On Tuesday evening each week, a list is posted on the website that shows the items available for purchase. The list changes from week to week based on the season and availability. And it’s not just for fruits and veggies – so far, I’ve seen everything from herbs to pastured chickens to local milk from grass-fed Jersey cows. There are even some local specialty foods for sale, like chocolate covered hazelnuts and handmade pasta. Customers add items to their cart and pay by credit or debit card. All purchase information is secure and encrypted. A receipt and purchase confirmation is then emailed to the customer, along with instructions for pick-up. Purchases must be made by Monday at noon for pick-up on Tuesday.

Easy, right??

So far, I’ve placed two orders through Aurora Local Foods. My first order was driven by my need for seven pounds of asparagus for pickles. I was thrilled that Aurora Local Foods could get me that amount for the lowest price I’ve seen anywhere this season, including conventional grocery stores! In fact, I’ve found that all the produce I’ve purchased so far has been exceptionally well-priced, especially considering the quality. If you have questions about a specific product, you can call or email Matt. He was great about answering all of my questions.

Even if trekking out to Aurora isn’t practical for you on a weekly basis, I would definitely encourage you to take a look anyway. You might discover a valuable resource for bulk produce purchases or maybe you could make a plan with a friend or two and take turns driving out pick up your orders.

This is a great way to connect to your local farmers and support the work they are doing to make sustainable food more accessible.

Give it a try and happy shopping!

Aurora Local Foods: Website | Facebook

Rebekah Pike is most happy with her nose in a book and enjoys making the most of her pint-sized, apartment kitchen. After leaving her job in media production to become a full-time mommy, she began exploring the sustainable living movement and reconnected with the back-to-the-earth ideals of her hippie parents. In 2005, her love of Oregon’s rugged outdoors led to a summer job as a camp counselor, where she met her husband, Darian. Most of their time is spent chasing after their two year old daughter, Ashlynn, and doing serious “research” at restaurants, coffee shops and markets around Portland.

Planting to Reap a Harvest: Growing and Preserving Food with Kids

{Photo Credit: by}

It’s that time of year: the soil is warming, crops are popping up, and the full swing of preservation season is right around the corner...
There is deep meaning for adults and children alike in putting to good use the blessings of fresh food. There is great work and great satisfaction in reaping a harvest, and though it is easy to source food effortlessly from a grocery store, it is wise to reveal to children the full life cycle of foods: from soil to harvest to the dinner plate.

Frugal Granola

Join me over at Frugal Granola to read more thoughts on growing, preserving, and sharing food with little ones...


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cooking: An Instrument of Comfort

“You probably need to eat something,” the baker said. “I hope you’ll eat some of my hot rolls. You have to eat and keep going. Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this,” he said.

~“A Small Good Thing,” by Raymond Carver

We are surrounded by hurting and weary people. Some are in our families, some are friends, some are strangers. We all face times when exhaustion and loss characterize our own seasons in life. During those times, it’s hard to overemphasize the important role that food plays in providing comfort and healing...

Join me over at Passionate Homemaking to continue reading...


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking Giveaway

Dear friends and visitors,
With a light heart and a happy bit of gusto, I present to you:

A chance to win your own copy of Kate Payne's new book,
The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking.
See below for Giveaway Details - contest open through June 14th.

(And I can say with all certainty that this is a splendid bit of fun because, as fate would have it, I won a copy this spring at the Local Kitchen giveaway!)

{ My copy, pictured here with homemade Pomegranate Syrup that I received from Kate back when she was moving from NYC to Austin, TX, cleaning out her summer preservation stash and offering a giveaway on her Facebook Page. Side story: Once her book arrived, I pulled out the syrup and proceeded to make myself a lovely beverage, and then sat on the couch, flipping through page after page, smiling to myself over all the great ideas worth trying. Consider this your warning: if you win, you may lose a few hours to happy browsing... }

I met Kate last winter through a web of Facebook Pictures (BKswappers' Food Swap pics inspired our very own PDX Swappers group), Twitter Tweets (she's fun to follow @hipgirls), and Helpful Emails (offering gracious to help as we sorted logistics for our first swap), and I'm now looking forward to a Real Life meetup when she travels through Portland this month on her Hip Girls book tour and PDX Swappers visit.

Kate's spunky, thrifty, DIY spirit resonates with my desire to give-it-a-go around the house and garden. Her tagline says it all: "Decorating, Dining, and the Gratifying Pleasures of Self-Sufficiency - on a Budget!"

Thinking about tackling a project? (Without breaking the bank!) Thinking about decorating your home or cooking something new? (Without packing up for an interior design academy or booking a trip to culinary school in France?)

The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking is divided into three helpful sections, each chalk full of easy-as-pie methods to take care and be smart in your daily living space.

I. Room-by-Room Guide to a Homey House, Homie
II. Impressive Acts of Domesticity: Do Try This at Home
III. Life After Restaurants

You can give the book an online browse if you'd like to read more...and if you'd like to get a sense of her easy going, inspiring charm, give a little watch to her instructions for Homemade Marmalade + Waterbath Basics:

All ready to own your own copy?

{ Giveaway Details }

This giveaway will be open until midnight, Pacific Standard Time, on Tuesday, June 14th.

In honor of the three sections of the Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, please take your pick and leave a comment on one (or all!) of the following.

Decor & bargain hunting:
What recent thrift-store find are you most excited about?

Keeping up around the house:
Do you have a trick or two that you use for cleaning nasty spills with natural products?

Cooking, preserving, & entertaining:
Tell us a story about a favorite food project and how you shared it with friends.

Fine print: The winner will be selected at random. Harper Collins Publishing will ship a lovely copy directly to the winner's front door! Please leave your email address or twitter handle with your comments so we can contact you if you win. Each comment counts as one entry, and you may enter up to three times.

{ Your Chance to Meet Kate }

The June 24th PDX Swappers & Lost Arts Kitchen Meet-Kate house party/book signing/food swap is now full, but...

If you live locally and would like to meet Kate, she's signing books at Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing next week, on Thursday, June 16th.

If you live out of state, you're also in luck - Powell's is selling and shipping signed copies! Head over to their website for more info...

{ That's it ~ leave a comment for your chance to win! }

Don't be intimidated!
Leave your entry as grand or as simple as you would like...

As Kate's first page says:
I dedicate this book to all the beginners out there.
Keep at it;
we all have to start somewhere.

Until next time,


{ And the Winner is... }
June 15th Update: Congratulations, Chelsea! Your comment was selected using Thanks to all for entering and sharing terrific inspirations!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...