urban farmer

Fall is Here

I don’t know about you guys, but apparently Fall is here in Oregon. It turned fast, too. One week it was in the high 80’s, clear skies, great weather, and the next day it was pouring buckets, there were windstorms and gray skies. I’m so not ready yet! But looking at the weather forecast, it didn’t seem like summer would be returning. I packed all my tank tops into the spare closet and pulled out my sweaters. Boo.

In other Fall news, I tried canning for the first time!

For a few years now I’ve said I was going to do SOMETHING with all the tomatoes we grew in our garden. Every Fall I do nothing. We eat as many tomatoes as we can and then the rest go bad or I give them away. Not this year. I was finally going to do something with them. At first I thought maybe I’d just freeze them. I looked it up online and figured out a plan. Then I saw this at the grocery store:


It was on sale and also had a $2 off coupon so for $10 I got to try canning for the first time and not feel like I had to make a huge investment. I had a huge tub of roma tomatoes.


First I cut the tomatoes in half and then laid them on a pan for roasting. I sprinkled the tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and some Italian seasoning and roasted them for the full 2 hours. They looked gorgeous when they were done!

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Here is the recipe I used for making tomato sauce:

I didn’t have a food mill, so I tried to get the seeds out the best I could but kind of failed. Oh well. It didn’t hurt the sauce in any way. The skins were super easy to get off. I pureed it in the food mixer a little but but left it kind of chunky. Then into the pot to cook. I added a ton of fresh herbs from my garden–oregano, rosemary, basil and some pineapple sage. I also added some dried Italian spices (thyme and marjoram).

If I had to do it all over again, I would sautee the diced onion and garlic for a few minutes before adding it to the sauce. Lesson learned! It didn’t affect the taste of the sauce at all, but I think cooking down the onions would be better. Just for future reference.

Now onto the canning part…Thankfully my little packet came with an easy guidebook (with recipes too). I had already cleaned the jars and then just had to heat them up.

It was awesome that I’d also inadvertently made nearly the perfect amount for the three jars! And it sealed! Woot!!! First experience canning was a success!! At least it looks that way. Who knows 5 months from now when I take the sauce out of the pantry…cross your fingers! If it IS a success, I will definitely do much much more next year.


Well, wait a second…I’ll be getting married this time next year so probably not canning….but maybe earlier in the summer I can. Anyways, I was happy that I finally tried canning! I might have to practice doing more this winter…..

Are you a canner? Any tips?

Korean Twist

First things first…I picked a winner for the Albion Fit giveaway!

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Alex! Congrats on winning the giveaway. Email me asap at 110pounds at gmail dot com. I need your mailing address and sizes. πŸ™‚ Thanks to everyone for entering.


This week I’m starting Week 5 of Suzanne’s program. That also means I’m almost to the 6 week rest period ending! Not sure yet how I feel about that. I think it deserves its own post. My workout on Saturday morning was really good. I judge a “good” workout by being satisfied with the number of calories I burned, feeling strong and like I pushed myself, and not feeling like I struggled or was in pain. I’m up to doing 50 pounds of the Romanian Deadlifts. I probably could have progressed a lot faster with this had I not been so timid about screwing up my knees or back. As a result, I took it very slow. But, I’m happy that I can do 50 now!


For lunch Michael and I went downtown to the food carts. There’s a Korean food cart that he loves and he’s been trying to get me to try their tacos for awhile now. I am sad to say, it took me way too long to give it a try. These babies were fantastic! We went to Korean Twist on 10th and Alder. It was open on the weekend, which I was happy about because a lot of food carts are not.


Michael and I both got 3 tacos–one beef, one chicken, one pork. We walked up to the park near Nordstrom’s and found a table in the sun to eat our tacos. The tacos were small and the perfect size (even though I was left wishing I had three more when I was done).


I have no idea what was in those tacos but I can see an addiction forming. There was a spicy sauce and somehow the tacos were sweet, savory and spicy all at the same time. It’s rather odd to be eating a “sweet” taco but it was such a nice surprise.


I surmise that these tacos are a fusion of Korean flavors and Mexican tacos and it sounds weird. Asian food mixed with Mexican? But it was such a GOOD fusion. It came with shredded lettuce, some kind of spicy red sauce (perhaps SrirachaΒ mixed with something?), the meat was all perfectly cooked and in bite size pieces and there was fresh cilantro on top. (I can’t wait to try Kogi in LA!!!)


I think I could eat these every single day for lunch and not get sick of them.


On Sunday I had a FANTASTIC swim! I was even able to do some breaststroke without any knee issues–for the first time in months. That was encouraging. The rest of the day was spent in the yard. I had so much gardening to take care. I pulled up the spinach that had gone bad, planted some perennials in pots (blue stevia and a daylily) and then pulled weeds.


I filled a huge yard debris bin full of weeds and Michael planted our tomato plants.


Then it was time for my book club meeting. I wanted to have some fresh, seasonal snacks to munch on so I made two things: a faux caprese salad and watermelon.

For the caprese salad, I put grape tomatoes on a toothpick, added fresh basil from my garden and mozzarella. Then I drizzled olive oil and balsamic on it with a little salt and pepper. It was the perfect little snack and tasted so good!


For the watermelon, I cubed them and then topped them with a mixture of minced shallots, minced fresh mint and feta cheese. I added a little pepper to the mixture and then put it on the watermelon. You wouldn’t think to put shallots, mint, feta and watermelon together but it was REALLY good! In fact, my friend Debby who said she did not like “strange” foods, said it was quite pleasant and unexpected.


My friend Star brought strawberries and GhirardelliΒ chocolate. Debby brought white chocolate covered popcorn. πŸ˜€ It was a very nice book club meeting! We sat outside on the deck in the shade with a slight breeze rustling the trees in the yard and the sun filling the garden. It was the perfect spring afternoon that was starting to feel like summer!

The book we read this month was called “Blindness.” It was a book about a “white blindness” that spreads through the city like a plague making everyone blind. It was a story that talked about the good and terrible things humans do to each other in times of crisis. There were definitely some parallels to Lord of the Flies, and maybe even the Holocaust. It wasn’t entirely negative and depressing, though. We all really enjoyed the book and the message the author was trying to get across. And apparently there is a movie based on the book too! I need to see that now.

It was one of those kinds of weekends where you are running, running, running and never actually sit down to relax, but it was worth it. Lots of fun things with friends, a birthday dinner with family and some good conversations about books. Every weekend should be this fun!

QUESTION: Any book recommendations for a book club meeting?