For the last two years, good friends of ours were living in the Netherlands and recently moved back to the states.  We were lucky enough to visit them in Rotterdam last year and it was easy to understand why they loved living in the South Holland Port City.  Cool modern architecture, bikes and a vibrant food scene.

One of the food traditions we were introduced to was bitterballen.  Round croquettes typically filled with a meat gravy (beef).  Served with alcohol, this is one of the most popular snacks in Holland.  On my very last night in Rotterdam, with a gin and tonic I was able to enjoy expertly made bitterballen in a bar on a boat.

We are happy to have them home in Portland now AND that their enthusiasm for Dutch culture and bitterballen led them to purchase a deep fryer! Last night we made a mushroom version of the bittergarnituur.

Here are a few links to recipes I found.  Easy to follow and improvise from. Have some fun and try different fillings.   Onion and Madame Jeanette Pepper filling was a HIT with our group.

The Dutch Table Blog

The Spruce




How did this happen?  It’s already the end of February and I’ve neglected the blog, AGAIN!  Once I went ten months without posting, I am embarrassed at the amount of content on here after having the site for over TWO whole years.   2018 I’m going to ramp up my posts with awesome photos and content.  Hopefully I’ll work out better placement and flow for the menus so you can navigate easily between categories and posts.


Atom turned 1 this year!

I will be updating  our Backyard Habitat Certification progress and discuss our indoor plant family and take you with me on my new small business journey!

But first can we talk about Vegan restaurant Farm Spirit, here in PDX.


Beet Tartare


Celery Stew

In SE Portland, this place had chefs counter seating only and rapid fire small bites with excellent pairings.  Super creative and delicious guilt free dinner that totally inspired a farmers market splurge the next day.


When you are so excited to buy farm fresh goods that you forget to brush your hair.

Plant Gang


Dining Room Plant Gang (Marantha is new).  Jade cuttings are so healthy and living in really gorgeous Japanese teacups that I will some day drink out of again.


Sansevieria, this guy has been with us for about a year and had a growth spurt this summer.  Going to store him in this room that is consistently low light.


One of the newest additions!  Her leaves were losing color from being directly in the sun.  We moved this Marantha to the dining room where it is gray but bright.  This plant loves humidity so I give it a few mists through out the week.


I love the way this Jade cutting looks in this thrifted teapot!  I couldn’t walk away from those sweet hand-painted flowers even though it had no lid!  The cutting will be the perfect size for this container soon and is enjoying indirect sunlight from all angles in our kitchen.


New Rubber Plant (10/15/17)

More plant pics soon, I promise.

See my other plant post

Snout to tail

We took a butchery class.

Recipes for Pork Butt, Belly and tenderloin after a few gruesome photos. Apologies to vegetarian/vegan friends.


Just this half of the pig weighed over 75 lbs

Portland Culinary workshop in North Portland has hands on culinary classes.  Very knowledgeable and qualified teacher/chef instructs on a variety of subjects.  Our class size was only three people.

IMG_2832I felt really comfortable with the knife and still managed to cut myself while removing pig skin (it gets slippery).


Pork Explosion


We were sent home with two large Pork Butts, a ham round, large slab of pork belly and a huge pork tenderloin.

I made carnitas with the pork butts, slow roasted the pork belly with sage for another meal. We cut two large pork chops off of the loin and froze the ham.  Find recipes below.

Recipe Links 

Carnitas – Pork Butt

Maple Brined Pork


Easy carnitas recipe, lots of room to improvise.  We used pork butt we brought home from a butchery class and made double this amount.  Be sure to cut off excess fat or remove large sections after roasting.


  • 4 pound boneless pork butt cut into cubes

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 3/4 tsp pepper

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 2 Tb fresh lime juice

  • 2 C water, to cover

  • 1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spent halves


  1.  Heat oven to 300 degrees.

  2. Combine all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven.

  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered.

  4. Cover pot and transfer to the oven, about 2 hours.

  5. Remove the pot from the oven and turn on the broiler.

  6. Remove the meat from the pan and place it on a large foil-lined pan.

  7. Remove and discard bay leaves & onion from dutch oven, keep the cooking liquid.

  8. Place pot over high heat on the stove and boil until it thickens and syrupy, about 20 minutes. You should have about 1 C of liquid remaining at the end.

  9.  Use two forks to pull each cube of pork into three equal sized pieces. Once the liquid has reduced, gently fold in the pieces of pork into the pot.  Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

  10. Spread the pork back onto the foil lined pan and evenly spread the meat around so there is a single layer of meat. Place in oven to broil until the top of the meat is well browned and edges are slightly crisp. Keep a close eye on the meat during this stage. Flip the carnitas to crisp further.  Serve with tortillas or over rice

Black & Blue #1

Space Illustrations

From the book ‘All About the STARS’ by Anne Terry White published by Random house in 1954. 

Illustrations by Melvin Bilek.



I love how simple and deeply pigmented these illustrations are.  This book is sixty-three years old and was published before the first moon walk in 1969.

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Even though the science is a touch outdated, these images still stir up wonder and amazement .


Impressive sparkling celestial images using only two colors and the white of the page.


Right now my favorite image is of the eclipse below.  Oregon received many visitors this year being in the path of totality.


Indoor Plant Babies #1

For the first time maybe EVER I know that I can keep plants alive.  I have succulents and cacti that I’ve had for over two years.  I can’t stop buying plants and now that we’re moving into fall I’m hoping these new guys survive. Here are some pictures of the new guys and  a few memories from the beginning of my plant journey.


Calla Lily


Tropic Canna Lily and Vrisea “Cherlette”

I was one of the students in my middle school made responsible for the greenhouse. Before or during our lunch break it was our job to water the many houseplants, ferns, forgotten science projects and tropical trees.  These already struggling plants were placed under the care of clueless inner-city kids during the particularly harsh Missouri winter of my seventh grade year and many did not make it.  Over-watering.

After the Lincoln Middle School Plant Massacre, I told myself that I was just totally challenged at all things plant related.  I watched my mother attempt and fail many times at growing anything in the Missouri red clay soil surrounding our house. Sometimes a random cluster of neglected marigolds survived in the front yard but that was about it.  I never really attempted house plants or a garden until I was about 25.  It was grown over by weeds but we still harvested some delicious radishes and cucumbers.

Five years ago, I moved into my first apartment in Portland and I received two house warming plants an orchid and the other I’m still unsure what variety it was.    The orchid lasted almost exactly four months and then I watered it to death.  The restaurant I was co-managing at that same time had great big indoor trees and small succulents on every table.  The tallest and most beautiful tree in that place was getting watered once a week by me at the owners request.  A few months into this routine, the tree looked pathetic, almost dead.  I immediately thought it was my fault, my curse.  I had no idea that the bus boys were emptying water pitchers into the soil at the end of the night AND the florist responsible for the living arrangement was watering it bi-weekly.  The tree survived but could have suffered root rot under those conditions, and became a very expensive mistake.  They had to repot a massive, massive plant, it was so sad.

The first apartment I lived in with James in downtown Portland had the coolest balcony for plants, it was actually the most ornate thing on the whole buildings exterior.  When I moved in the box was full of planters and containers of dirt and things did eventually grow but he had NO IDEA what any of it was.  Many of the containers had no drainage and the Pacific Northwest region receives a ton of rain in the spring and winter so the balcony would become and pool and many planters were overgrown with moss and sometimes smell like sewage.  It took SO much work to organize and remove old soil.  I learned in that apartment that succulents and the ornamentals I was purchasing don’t love rain and direct sunlight, that growing and transplanting seedlings is hard.  A lonely jade plant and a bunch of cacti (photo below) made the move with us into our new house.

Sadly only a few cuttings of the original jade and three cacti are still with us, a little over two years later.


Today only 4 of these plants are alive.  Whoops.




September Shelfie.  Cactus, Snake plant, Vrisea and my Jade.

Check out my Plant Gang post.


Secret Chapel

Earlier this year we went to Amsterdam for a few nights and stayed in a hidden chapel.  Built in 1751, this unique air bnb was converted from a secret church into a romantic hideaway. I hope you enjoy the photos.


Tiny door between buildings takes you to a private alley.  I Love the way the old architecture sways,



The most beautiful ceiling I’ve slept under.


Spooky illuminati eye on the room centerpiece.  I’ve never stayed in a more beautiful room.


Centerpiece above the bed, photographs do not do this justice.


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