Feel Free: Budget-Friendly Garden Ideas

Cleaning out our car last week, I decided we're treating our little hybrid hatchback like a haulin' a&# truck for garden duties.

There are scraps of bamboo, scrapes from cement-laden fenceposts, and splinters from wood shims scattered around the car's interior. At first I was a little irked at the mess, but now that the garden is producing, I kinda see these things as little signs that we're using what we've got to do something right.

In crunchy Earth-friendly and frugal fashion, Scott and I found ways to avoid buying brand-new tomato cages (which can be surprisingly expensive when you need 10+ of them), fancy trellises, potions for keeping insects at bay, and shiny objects to deter birds from tasting our tomatoes before we get a chance.

Reduce, reuse, and recycle these ideas for making spare items function for free in your garden:

DIY with Bamboo: For once, the site Nextdoor is good for something other than watching your neighbors out-snark and gripe at each ot…

No Dog Days of Summer Here: Gardening in Gresham, OR

64 degrees, friends. 
That's the current temperature here in Gresham, Oregon, at 1:30pm PT on Monday, July 2. 
This southern-born transplant is in awe. Yesterday while reading on our patio in mid-afternoon, I donned a long sleeve because of a light, cool breeze. If I was back in Charlotte right about now, I'd be removing as many layers as legally possible.
It's a transition that's a welcome change. No more sweating off sunscreen or makeup, and goodbye frizzy hair that can claim it's own zip code? (Well, the hair is still kinda big.) I'm in! And Scott is no longer having summertime humidity Nicolas Cage-style freak outs.
Yet when it comes to gardening, the cooler temps and surprisingly dry weather so far are perplexing. After a bit of wrangling, we secured a large 20'x20' plot at Gresham City Hall community garden, which is walkable from our apartment. It took a full day to hack weeds out of the very rocky soil and hand-turn/till with a shovel and rake, …

Settling In & Ready to Cook - with Books!

One of the trickiest but also most rewarding things about moving to a new place is adapting to the food scene and culture.

A common response Scott and I heard when we announced our Oregon move to friends and family was "OMG. The beer. The wine. The FOOD." While we're very excited to try out many of the notable restaurants, plentiful food carts/pods, and the crazy explosion of breweries and wineries, I'm most thrilled about having access to the fresh local produce and seafood of Oregon.

Not only do I enjoy home cooking but let's face it -- it's often cheaper to make food than to dine out. Despite the sales tax-free shopping, Oregon food can be expensive, and with one of us (me) being on a brief "job break" at the moment, meal planning and sticking to grocery lists is an important budget focus.

Powered by Pimento Cheese, The Adams Make a Move for Oregon

If you review the photos on your phone, you will notice trends. Maybe it's cute baby photos, snaps of your pets doing something adorable and/or ridiculous, shots of your culinary feats or fails, or travel pics.

For me, my photo album is bookended with images of mayonnaise. 
I can explain -- really.
When Scott landed his planning job for Multnomah County, Oregon earlier this spring, we had many details to wrangle and projects to complete. Sell our house in Charlotte, North Carolina - ok, we can do it. Purge or sell many belongings -- that's FUN, let's burn it all! And successfully drive all our belongings for more than 2,800 miles in a 20+-ft. U-Haul truck, with the Ford C-Max with adorable, ridiculous #LorettaDog following along -- errrr, do what now???
The drive from Charlotte to Gresham, OR was my one hesitation. Not exactly known for my smooth driving skills, I rarely enjoy operating a motor vehicle, preferring instead to take frequently-delayed Amtrak train rides to se…

Friends with Benefits: Meet EV Originals

I love that feeling when a friend accomplishes something wonderful.

Maybe because I'm a only child and thus friends often feel like family, or maybe it's just because we all need a little more raising up these days.

So when I heard that a friend from the Nashville, TN area who co-founded and operates a catering business decided to share her culinary talents with the masses and create a line of bottled products, EV Originals, I did a big ol' happy dance.

Some Like It Hot -- And Toasted on Both Sides

The latest news in appliances seems to indicate there's no love for the good ol' traditional Crock-Pot.
Fictional drama aside, the slow cooker most of us grew up with is receiving some healthy competition from the new hot thing, the Instapot
But in our house, we're having a face-off with a completely different category of kitchen appliances -- it's the Toaster vs Toaster Oven.

'Party Time, Excellent' Books: The Food Lab, Smitten Kitchen Every Day, Beard on Food, Farmette

One of my favorite pastimes is to visit the library & peruse new and old cookbooks.

I think this is probably most definitely violating copyright law, but when I check out cookbooks and find recipes that I like, I'll copy them and file them in my almighty 3-ring green food binder. This binder holds recipes torn from magazines and newspapers, family recipes emailed and handwritten, takeout menus, and paper menus from restaurants we've visited and enjoyed. It's my big book of food awesomeness, and I'm always in search of items to keep it growing.

When a friend mentioned the Food52 Cookbook Club on Facebook, I figured it would be a fun way to experiment with foods I might not normally cook, and to expand my horizons beyond the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library stacks.