Thursday, December 26, 2013

DIY Jewelry Tray/Ring Holder

You have probably seen a few versions of these Anthropologie Hacks popping up around on Pinterest.  I thought making my own would be perfect for holiday gifts.


  • Plates (I bought ones at good will and put them through the dishwasher)
  • Spray Paint (I like Rust Oleum - Satin Heirloom White)
  • Gorilla Glue (made for ceramic/paint)
  • Small animals from Michael's - I picked the Jungle collection
  • Gold Spray Paint (Rust Oleum is my fav brand)
  • Metallic Pen (optional)

Buy some inexpensive plates - I picked mine up for $1-$3 dollars each at Goodwill. Wash them in the dishwasher and let them dry.

Spray paint the plates with your white spray paint, do one side and once its fully dry, do the other.
It has been really chilly so I had to let mine sit overnight. It took a few days to get the plates coated to my liking.

In the meantime spray paint your small animals, I opted to go with gold. I bought the jungle pack, but there were a ton to choose from.

Once your plates and animals are dry its time to get gluing. Use the gorilla glue, and use a very small amount - place the animal on the tray and secure it with a rubber band or hair tie. The gorilla glue expands while it dries.

I made a number of these and after they were all dry I decided to dress them up a little bit with the metallic pen.

I loved them so much I made one for myself.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Pot Roast

With the cow share we recently purchased we have many different cuts of meat and since Portland has been gifted this beautiful crisp and chilly weather (did I mention DRY) it is the perfect time of year for pot roast.

1 bag frozen trader joes Pearl onions (or about 3 cups roughly cut onions, you want big chunks)
1 bag frozen trader joes parisian Carrots (or about 3 cups chopped carrots)
4 sprigs fresh Rosemary
4-5 sprigs fresh Thyme
1/2 c Bourbon
1 large can peeled tomatoes (I like the San Marazano from Trader Joes)
8 cloves Garlic (crushed or minced)
2 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp fresh ground pepper

Brown the pot roast on all sides, don’t cook it through, just let it get a little caramelization going on.
Place the pot roast in the Crockpot; add the pearl onions, carrots, and garlic. Add the rosemary, thyme and tomatoes. Add the bourbon and just enough water to cover the meat.
Cook on high 6-8 hrs until meat is tender.

We served ours over mashed potatoes, but I bet a root vegetable mash would be even better!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Natural Deodorant


3 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp cornstarch
10 drops tangerine essential oil

Lightly melt the coconut oil in a glass container in the microwave, or in a saucepan on low heat if you prefer - I put it in my pyrex and melted it for 20 seconds in the microwave, when I took it out and stirred it the rest of it melted on its own.

Mix in the cornstarch and baking soda - I started with 2 tablespoons at a time until each one was incorporated.

Mix in essential oil (I picked tangerine - but really any kind you like would work)

Place in a container - I put mine in a small mason jar. Just put a small dab under each arm and you are good to go.

                    I wore this all day and although my armpits got wet,  there was no smell. Success!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Underground Herbal Spirit

Today I am reviewing Underground Herbal Spirit

Underground is manufactured in Utah by Ogden’s Own Distillery. I was honestly a bit surprised to hear about this company, I think because Utah immediately conjured images of Prohibition.  

The bottle is unique, it has that old timey vibe to it,  it looks like something I might order in a saloon. And if you know me, I am a sucker for interesting bottles. 

It’s a  blend of cassia (cinnamon), angostura (bitters), anise, cardamom, a couple flowering plants: gentian & yarrow , wormwood (used to make absinthe) , mate (like the tea), guarana, ginseng, molasses, orange oil, lemon oil, spearmint, pure cane sugar, agave and plum.

I wasn’t really sure how to use it at first, I know Brix Tavern here in PDX uses it in one of their cocktails.

Generally I am not a fan of anything with guarana, don’t even get me started on energy drinks… but since in this case its for flavor and not part of an energy drink I can make an exception.

The spirit is similar to something akin to Jagermesiter I suppose.  My husband said it reminded him of a digestif – something drank after dinner in France to help with digestion. 

The things I liked about it :
very low sugar content compared to similar liqueurs
the flavor (Its very licorice, which if you like licorice is a good thing)
its 80 proof
its gluten free

My hesitations about it:
I am just not that sure what I would use it for other then as a digestif (either served alone, or mixed with club soda, but I did enjoy it in this medium)
It could be interesting in a blood mary though.

All in all I thought it was tasty, if you are interested in trying it you can purchase it here 

This post is brought to you by the makers of Underground but all the thoughts/opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Things I am Loving

I am obsessed with plants lately, it remains to be seen if I can keep them alive. This diamond shaped terririum one is super cute.

I have been seeing these prints all over, I love the red and creme together on this cardigan.  

I have been looking for a plant holder for our dining room for a few months, my plants are taking over the dining room table! This one holds 6 and its very mid century modern.

I really love this moonrise kingdom print - because it is probably what my husband thinks all the time! One might say I am a bit of a talker, and if you know me in real life you probably know that to be true.

Also this dry shampoo looks awesome, and I have heard rave reviews about it.

What is on your holiday wish list? 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bourbon Bacon Jam

This year I am making a bunch of holiday gifts, one of which is going to be bacon jam. Cat is out of the bag I guess if I am posting about it but I think my friends and family won't mind I spoiled the surprise.

I have been wanting to make bacon jam for a few years and after perusing a few recipes I decided to just dive in.

Adapted from SpoonForkBacon

4 lbs Applewood smoked bacon
3 onions, diced
8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
salt to taste (depending on how salty your bacon is you will want to adjust this to your preference)
4 tsp ground pepper
2 cups bourbon (I used Bulleit Bourbon)
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
12 tbsp apple cider vinegar
7 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sweet paprika
4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp ground mustard
10 oz brewed coffee

Brown up all your bacon first until crispy - I like to use my oven for this step.  (Bake for about 20 minutes at 375 - keep an eye on it, it might take more time or it might take less depending on how thick the bacon is) Then set bacon aside.

On the stove in a saucepan,  mix together  about 4 tbsp of the bacon fat, onions, garlic and spices. Once the onion is translucent add the bourbon and reduce slightly.

Now this is where your crockpot comes in handy.  Break up the bacon into chunks. Put everything into the crockpot, salt it to taste and cook on high until the liquid is reduced by a lot, you want it mostly evaporated.  It took about four hours in the crockpot. I then used my stick blender and blended it together in short bursts. If you have a food processor you could put everything into that and blend it up until it is a texture you like, somewhere between having medium/small chunks and a paste.

I put it into the fridge to cool and then put them in jars the following day.  It is really yummy, I highly recommend you make it.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Girlfriends

Now I am sure everyone already knows what they are getting their besties, but in case you need a few ideas I think the following four items would go over really well. 

I haven't watched Girls yet (I know I am probably the only one) however I have heard great things and think this would be a great show to share with your girlfriends. 

Wine, the Red Velvet by Cupcake is a favorite. 

This herringbone scarf from target is cozy and gorgeous.

And a spa day - but not the usual facials and massages,  why not try something new and check out this Portland steam and sauna with a Scandinavian vibe. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Super Cute and Billigt Garlands

So you are probably wondering what the heck Billigt means…. well its the Swedish word for cheap. And these garlands are super easy, super cheap and super cute.

For materials:
Ikea (see this is where the Swedish comes in) paper coasters
Embroidery thread (the kind you use to make friendship bracelets)

Thread your needle with the embroidery thread. Then thread them through the coasters.

Once threaded I spaced them out how far apart I wanted them and then I made a knot in the thread so they would stay in place.  From one 10 pack of coasters I made two garlands.

The needle and thread I had on hand and the coasters were $1.00, I put them together and strung them up in less then 20 minutes.
Leia managed to sneak into this shot. 

A cute fast and festive way to prepare for the holidays!  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide : For the Nerd in Your Life

Here are a few things that most self proclaimed nerds would love, and even those who aren't. 

I personally love the vintage feel to the old star wars poster prints and have admired them for a while. My husband loves Star Wars and I think these would be a nice addition to any room without it being so obviously nerdy. 

Obviously the xbox one is big right now, so I had to include it.   And the new Hunger Games movie,  Catching Fire,  just came out (I am so excited to see it, I loved the books) - the Mocking-jay  pin is really cute. 

Growing up we used to watch the old Dr. Who.  I know some die hard watchers of the current version and this iphone case would probably be something they would love in their stocking.

What are your fav nerd-centric gifts? 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pear & Blue Cheese Salad (Courtesy of Food

Today I am bringing you a post courtesy of Food

When we had cable I would watch the Food Network for hours on end…. that and HGTV were my binge channels,now I have to save my binge watching for days I go to my parent’s house.   Which is exactly where I’ll be on Thanksgiving next week.

Along with the usual fixings, turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, its always nice to have a refreshing salad to help balance out the heavy food. But Leah - Brussels sprouts are green and healthy, well thats true, but when you roast them with bacon, the health quotient does suffer slightly. So the perfect remedy for this is a salad! 
There is just something about Pears & Blue cheese that go together so well not to mention this salad is both gluten free and paleo/primal if you are eating dairy. 

This yummy salad is featured over on The Food site.   Some people don’t care for blue cheese but I love it, especially with a nice vinaigrette. 

Pear & Blue Cheese Salad

  • 2/3 cup nuts (walnutspecans, almonds, or cashews)
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Belgian endive
  • 2 ripe pears, such as Anjou, Bartlett, or Comice
  • 2 ounces mild blue cheese (about 1/2 cup loosely packed crumbles) 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes. Let the nuts cool, and then coarsely chop.
Trim the stems of the watercress and arugula. Wash and dry the leaves.
Meanwhile, whisk the vinegar and mustard together in a large salad bowl. Season with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream, to make a smooth, slightly thickdressing.
Halve the endive lengthwise, cut out core, then thinly slice crosswise and add all the lettuces to the bowl. Quarter and core the unpeeled pears and thinly slice; add to the salad. Scatter the cheese and nuts over the salad, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the salad gently to evenly dress all the greens. Divide among 4 plates and serve immediately.

I personally like a really nice strong blue cheese flavor, but if you aren't a huge blue cheese fan like I am, then I would pick a more mild variety. 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide : The Novice Chef

These are my favorite essentials for the Novice Chef.  The list really can go on and on 
(and on, I am addicted to kitchen stuff) but these nine items are a great place to start. 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Start of the Holiday Season!

Now that halloween is over all the thanksgiving and christmas decorations are starting to show up in stores.

I am sooooo excited this year to decorate our house. I have what I hope is a super awesome idea for our front porch and just have to work out the logistics, if it works like I hope it will, expect a post.

In the meantime here are some things I am loving right now, realistically the list is pretty endless as far as holiday decor, but I have trimmed it down to 3, it is only early November after all.


The stag head is pretty awesome, I could probably find a place for it year round…. and technically the owl lights aren't christmasy but I feel like they are slightly wintery. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cannon Beach

My in laws are in town for a few more days and we opted to spend the day at Cannon Beach on Wednesday. It could not have been a more perfect day.

It was soooo foggy when we got there

The fog burned off and it turned into a gorgeous day

No visit would be compete without checking out Haystack rock

Can you believe its November?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Portland Preservation Society = my new fav hobby

Last week Erika and I spent our day making a whole bunch of stuff. The monthly meet up is next Wednesday and not only did we make things for that, but also to have on hand in our own homes.

Canning is a great activity - there is so much you can preserve - I have been checking out the following books and debating on which one to purchase.  

We made pickled eggs (both our husbands requested them),  chai concentrate (this is what I am bringing to the meet up, ) sriracha, and pickled radishes. 

I can't wait for December - I am making bacon jam for gifts (don't worry I'll post the recipe) and will likely make extras for that month's meet up.  For January I am leaning towards maybe quince and vanilla liqueur or a flavored vodka.

Have you tried canning/pickling? What are some of your favorite recipes? Do you have a favorite book or source for canning? 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pear Cardamom Bread (Gluten Free & Paleo)

1 cup almond flour
¼ cup arrowroot flour  (it’s been debated on if it’s actually Paleo, but in this instance I am using a pretty small amount - you could also likely sub with tapioca starch if you prefer that)
¼ c coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cardamom (such a yummy fall spice)
pinch of salt (I like the Himalayan pink salt)
3 tbsp room temp grass-fed butter
3 eggs
5 dates (soaking before hand might help with the blending but I didn’t do that step)
1-2 moderately ripe pears (not mushy but not super firm either)  I used Comice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Mix together all the dry ingredients.
Blend together all the wet ingredients, eggs, butter, dates, and ½ the pears. Mix the dry into the wet and once well-mixed fold in the pears.
 I like to let the mix sit for a couple minutes so the coconut flour has time to absorb all the liquid. This would be a good time to butter your loaf pan, after 5 minutes add the batter to the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until set.
You might notice mine is a little darker then I usually like to bake things,  this is mainly because I got caught up watching Scandal and didn’t hear the timer beep. Whoops! 

Either way its delicious, gluten free, and paleo!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Most Amazing Dinner (and it was all Gluten Free) Imperial PDX

Last night I had the pleasure of being invited to a five course Gluten Free Dinner with Next Iron Chef finalist Chef Jehangir Mehta, of Graffiti fame and Portland’s Chef Vitaly Paley of Paley’s Place and his new restaurant Imperial.   It was part of the GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour, a 10-city national educational tour sponsored by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). I attended this event with a few other PDX Food Bloggers.

GREAT Kitchens has partnered with NFCA regarding gluten free awareness and safe food handling practices. Their focus is to educate restaurants, universities and foodservice providers with the necessary tools to provide safe and delicious options for those with gluten free dietary needs.

This is something I am very passionate about.  I used to love trying new restaurants, but since being diagnosed with a gluten allergy my fear of getting “glutenized” makes me really nervous to dine out.  I think this is a great program because not only does it educate on what food items contain gluten but it also addresses cross contamination, for those living with Celiac disease, cross contamination is just as problematic as having a piece of bread.

So now the food… let me tell you it was amazing!

We started off with a cocktail called a Rickshaw, made from Paley’s Sorghum Whiskey (specially crafted at Clear Creek Distillery) and three fantastic appetizers: Sorghum Spiced Popcorn, Marinated Shrimp on Chickpea Pancakes and Squash and Goat Cheese fritters.   I have to admit the fritters were my favorite of the appetizers.
We then had Oregon Albacore Sashimi with orange yogurt and tapioca scales, the tapioca was served both as you would imagine traditional tapioca pearls as well as a crunchy version. This was served with a really yummy white wine.
The EntrĂ©e – Slow Roasted Veal with beef fat roasted sweet potatoes, bordelaise, smoked marrow butter and grilled frisee came next. It was utterly delicious. Each course was more and more impressive. Also served with an amazing red wine.
Finally for dessert we had a Milk Chocolate Icebox Cake with a roasted banana filling, walnuts and toasted meringue. We also had macaroons and a date and almond cake. The icebox cake was my fav and totally to die for, I would love the recipe.  After all the courses we were all quite full but that dessert too good to not eat all of it!  

For more delish pics check out #gfchefstable #imperialpdx on Instagram