Behind the scenes of The Backyard Fire Cookbook
Makings of a Book, Work

Behind the Scenes of The Backyard Fire Cookbook

It’s been a little over two months since the release of The Backyard Fire Cookbook, and summer is in full swing around here. For us, that means lazy days on the river and lakes, the ever-present smell of sunscreen in the air, and the savory, smoky scent of barbecue and bonfires outside our door.

I’ve been having a lot of fun revisiting the recipes in my book as we plan our weekly grocery shopping and prepare for camping trips. (We’ve actually been making them more in camp than at home, so this is a book that also travels well!)

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Adventures in parenting: camping with a newborn
Parenthood

Adventures in Parenthood: Camping With a Newborn Baby

This post is in partnership with Baby Deedee. All thoughts and words are my own. Keep reading for a special discount offered exclusively for Garden Betty friends!

When I was pregnant, the notion of camping with a newborn baby was appealing and a little intimidating. But no matter how many naysayers I came across, and in spite of how many parents laughed at me, insisting, “Oh, you’ll see,” I knew I wasn’t going to wait years for my child to be “ready.”

My thinking was, better to break the kid in sooner than later… get her used to long car rides, simple pleasures, and strange and exciting environments. I didn’t know if there was an “appropriate” age to take a baby camping, but I didn’t want to get too comfortable with the assumption that it was too hard, or too risky, or this, or that… and if I didn’t at least try, I’d never know if it was possible.

So my husband and I set off for one of our favorite summertime destinations, Kern River in Southern California, when Gemma was nine weeks old. Just the three of us. Into the great unknown: sharing a tent with a newborn.

How did we do?

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And just like that, we are officially landowners
House & Home

And Just Like That, We Are Officially Landowners

In other big news (the first being baby number two, which you can read more about here if you missed our announcement), we just closed on our first piece of property! [Insert ear-to-ear grins and happy dances]

Before I get into the when, what, why, and how of our house hunt, let’s rewind two years (has it already been that long?!) to this previous post I wrote about our impending move to Central Oregon.

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Foolproof five: the best plants to grow for bees
Flowers & Herbs, Garden of Eatin'

Foolproof Five: The Best Plants to Grow for Bees

Blanket flower (Gaillardia)

Growing a bee garden is as easy at it gets for a home gardener. There’s no need to seek out exotic blooms or struggle with fussy flowers that need to be pampered. Some of the best plants to grow for bees are what I consider the underdogs of a garden: those “plain Jane” flowers and hard-working herbs that normally wouldn’t get a second glance.

In fact, all my bee gardens over the years were planted primarily because of how low-maintenance they were. They’re fairly drought-tolerant, self-seeded freely as annuals, grew back every year as perennials, and did double-duty as human food and pollinator food (as was the case with my herbs).

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How to grow tomatoes in pots like a gardening pro
Garden of Eatin', How-To

How to Grow Tomatoes in Pots Like a Gardening Pro

Tomatoes are the holy grail of gardens. Who can resist all those sweet, juicy orbs ripening in the sun every summer, filling the air with that unmistakable heady scent of tomato vine?

Hands down, it’s one of my favorite plants to grow every year and I grew it without abandon in my last garden, in the ground, when space was not an issue for these large, unwieldy plants.

But when I uprooted to a different part of the country and found myself in a rental home for the short term, with only a deck that was suitable for gardening, I thought my tomato dreams were dashed for the next couple summers.

Not so!

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Makings of a Book, Work

The Backyard Fire Cookbook Is Here! Hooray!

The day is here! The Backyard Fire Cookbook: Get Outside and Master Ember Roasting, Charcoal Grilling, Cast-Iron Cooking, and Live-Fire Feasting officially makes landfall in bookstores and mailboxes everywhere, and I cannot wait to hear what you think of it!

The Backyard Fire Cookbook is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository (for non-USA readers — they offer free international shipping!), Books A Million, Indigo (for Canadian readers), or your local independent bookshop.

I’ve always felt that grilling is made to look more intimidating than it really is… the overnight brines, complicated grill accessories, and huge hunks of meat splayed across a Weber, not to mention the macho fanfare and stereotype that grilling is “a guy thing.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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A little bean is sprouting in the fall
Parenthood

A Little Bean Is Sprouting in the Fall

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some personal news, so here’s a happy update from the Garden Betty family: We’re growing by one this fall!

Will and I are thrilled to be welcoming a baby girl in September, and Gemma’s beyond ecstatic and babbling daily about her soon-to-be sister — how she’s going to feed her, change her diaper, and tuck her in the crib. A real live doll for her to take care of! The sweetness of it all just makes my heart explode.

(If you walk into our house at any given moment, there’s no less than half a dozen dolls and stuffed animals covered in blankets and carefully paired with their own little loveys and bottles.)

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The Backyard Fire Cookbook is coming May 14! Here's a look inside
Makings of a Book, Work

The Backyard Fire Cookbook is Coming May 14! Here’s a Look Inside

Woohoo! It’s almost here! While we await the official release date of May 14…

The Backyard Fire Cookbook is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository (for non-USA readers — they offer free international shipping!), Books A Million, Indigo (for Canadian readers), or your local independent bookshop.

As the companion to my bestselling title The New Camp Cookbook, The Backyard Fire Cookbook brings your favorite outdoor cooking closer to home and right into your own backyard — or front yard, or courtyard, or wherever you can carve out a little space for a fire.

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Tomato growing 101: 10 tips for a success harvest
Garden of Eatin', How-To, Vegetables

Tomato Growing 101: My Top 10 Tips for a Successful Harvest

If you’re planning to grow a summer garden, you’re most likely going to grow tomatoes in it. These plump, juicy fruits are the pinnacle of every vegetable gardener’s summer harvest, but it’s not always easy to get the ultimate tomato of our dreams: firm yet ripe, sweet yet tangy, a blemish-free fruit that’s perfectly moist and warm from the sun.

I’ve grown tomatoes every which way: straight in the ground, up in a raised bed, arranged in containers, even indoors for a short spell. I’ve tried almost every trick in the book — both science-based and those rooted in folk wisdom — to improve my harvest each time.

What I’ve found is that there aren’t really any “tricks” to achieving an abundant crop, only a series of well-timed steps that will give you great tomatoes. Every time.

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8 easy ways to support your favorite author
Makings of a Book, Work

8 Easy Ways to Support Your Favorite Author

Perhaps the sweetest moment of an author’s life (aside from the second we hit “send” upon completion of our manuscript) is the day the very first copy of our book arrives. And that day, my friends, has come.

Though The Backyard Fire Cookbook officially releases on May 14, 2019, we (the publisher and I) have received our initial copies to read through, hold tight, and squeal over. (The latter being mostly me, that is.)

It’s surreal to see a project of this magnitude come to life in the form of a neatly bound hardcover, and while I had visions of how the book might turn out, I’m blown away by how utterly good it is now that I have it in my hands!

The printer, editors, and design team did a killer job, and the images that Will captured in our backyard and kitchen last summer are incredible. The bold cover, square shape, and smooth, matte pages give the book a modern, artistic feel that I’m really loving.

I am so excited for you to see it, and I hope you’ll preorder a copy (via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Books A Million, Indigo, or your favorite independent bookseller) so you’ll have it in time for your summer barbecues!

I’m often asked by my readers, “Are preorders really that important?” or “Doesn’t your publisher do all the work of promoting the book?” And my responses to those questions are, “Yes! Yes!” and “To a certain extent.”

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