The best sundae EVER

Heaven. Also know as the Rim Trail from the Red Hut Cafe in South Lake Tahoe
Two scoops of vanilla ice cream
Hot fudge
Melted peanut butter
Whipped cream
Cherries
Pretzels

It’s so good it even got its own post!

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Kale, Apple & Parmesan Salad. YUM!

This salad is super simple and extra delicious!

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Ingredients:
Depending on how much salad you want to make, feel free to increase or decrease amount of ingredients.
1 bunch Lacianto Kale
1 apple (I use fuji)
1/8 cup of grated parmesan cheese (or however much cheese you want!)
1/2 lemon (zested)
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Start by de-ribbing (is that a word?  Remove the stem) the kale, and shredding the leaves.  Place in a large bowl.  Large dice the apple and add to the kale.  Toss in the parmesan.  In a separate small bowl add the olive oil, juice and zest from the lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk for 30 seconds or so until it becomes a little thicker.  Pour over the salad and toss.  It’s that simple and so good!  Good for you too 🙂

Egg & Veggie Pie

My workday starts at 6:30 in the morning, and I have a 30-45 minute commute…so it goes without saying I don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning.

I do however know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so I definitely make an effort to eat a nutritious meal. Here’s a recipe I whipped up that will last me all week! Hopefully I don’t get sick of it…

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (I prefer red)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced pancetta (Italian bacon)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 store bought pie crust (don’t you judge me!)
  • Salt and peppa!

Preheat oven to 350°. Read defrosting instructions on your piecrust. Line 9 inch baking dish with piecrust.

Prep veggies   In a nonstick pan, over medium heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally. I cooked this for about 10 minutes, or however long you would cook your regular bacon. I like it crispy so I went a little longer.  Scoop out the pancetta and put onto a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb extra grease.   With remaining grease in pan sauté veggies, season with salt and pepper, about eight minutes or until soft.   Beat six eggs, season with salt and pepper. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and pour into piecrust.   Bake for around 30 minutes and enjoy! Refrigerate whatever is left over.  

Mangia!

God is good friends, God is good

Veggie Lasagna (if you must…)

In a effort to lighten up a bit, I decided to replicate a favorite comfort dish.  I replaced lasagna noodles with zucchini (since I had a few lying around) and substituted sautéed veggies for sausage.  I do have to say, I should NOT have gone with my gut, and cut down the cheese by half or so.  Anyhoo, here’s what I did (with recommendations of cheese use).

Ingredients:

  • Bottle of Bolognese Sauce *I never buy store bought sauce… being an italian and all, my family would be so disappointed!  But I wanted a quick meal, and had no homemade sauce at home – so forgive me.
  • 1/2 cup whole milk Ricotta
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella
  • 3 large Zucchini, sliced long ways
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Get a grill pan nice an hot, over medium-high heat.  Coat zucchini in olive oil and salt and pepper, and grill on each side for a few minutes, or until they have grill marks.  Sauté onions and mushrooms in olive oil with salt and pepper, until soft – about 8 minutes.  Mix Mozzarella & Ricotta with salt & pepper in a bowl. Line an 8×8 baking dish (I always use ceramic – so easy to clean!) with some sauce (no need to heat sauce first).  Do a layer of zucchini, dot with cheese, sprinkle with veggies, top with sauce, repeat until you’ve used up the ingredients.  I got 2 layers out of it – finishing with zucchini.  Top with a final layer of sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake for around 15-20 minutes – or until bubbly and delicious.  Service with a nice glass o red wine, and buon appetito!

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Silverado Trail Part 1

Today was glorious.  Started out at church, followed by a delicious brunch and wine tasting!  Perfect way to spend a Sunday.

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Here’s where we went:

Brunch:  Alexis’ Baking Company & Cafe (ABC) Downtown Napa.
They change their menu seasonally (maybe monthly) so we ate off the March Spring Menu* & Everyday Breakfast Menu.

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Food:  Creme Brulee French Toast with Fresh Strawberries* ($14.95) and Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Eggs, Cream Cheese, Red Onions and Capers on a Potato Bun ($12.95) with a side of Potatoes with Cheese ($4.95).  Hot Chai Latte & Cold Chair Latte – YUM!  (Around $3.50/each)

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Wineries:  Regusci Winery, Robert Sinskey Vineyards & Chimney Rock Winery.

Regusci:  Stumbled upon this gem after we missed our turn for Chimney Rock!  A flight of 4 wines for $20.  A BIG thank you to Brittany for waiving the tasting fee when I asked about military discount.  Today we tried a Chardonnay, Zin, Merlot and Cab.  I hate to say it.. but we really only enjoyed the white – and I’m not normally a big Chardonnay fan, but this was a good one.  The tasting room and outdoor patio was really charming, the grounds were lovely, and the old building was beautiful!

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Robert Sinskey Vineyards:  This spot was recommended by Brittany from Regusci.  We pulled in, and though it was under construction, it was lovely!  A flight of 4 wines for $25.  Another BIG thank you to Kyle for offering a waived tasting fee for my military discount, and throwing in an extra taste.  We had an Abraxis, Orgia (label made of acid paper…), Pinot Noir, Cab and a POV.  The Abraxis was pretty tasty, especially on a warm summer day.  The reds were good, but we didn’t walk away with any.  What I especially liked about this winery was that they included a little food platter to sample with your tastings – and everything on here with yummy!  Especially the roasted almonds with rosemary, sage, olive oil and salt.  MMMmmmm

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Chimney Rock:  Found this on the Winery Finder App offering discounts, and also on yelp.  And boy are we glad we came here!  We made this the last stop for the day, and it was perfect.  A flight of 1 white and 4 reds (2 different flights to choose) for $35, and a flight of 3 whites and 1 red for $25.  A BIG thank you to our sommelier for offering a 2 for 1 taste for my military discount.  I’m going to be honest here… it was the end of the day, and the wines were blending at this point.  I had the 3 whites and 1 red, and enjoyed them all!  Ha!  My partner had 1 white and 4 reds and enjoyed them as well.  What we really enjoyed was the grounds.  The back patio was just lovely, a perfect spot to spend the afternoon.  The only bummer was you can’t picnic here due to Napa laws (or something beyond my scope).  We will definitely be back here!  Loved it.

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It truly was a beautiful day in wine country, and I am looking forward to the Silverado Trail part 2.  This part of the trail was the Stags Leap region – and it was beautiful and tasty!  Great day to be a Californian.

God is good friends.  God is good.

Coconut & Pecan Pancakes – YUM! (….mimosas too!)

Coconut Pancakes with fresh whipped cream, candied pecans and toasted coconut!

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Pancakes (no exact measuring here….sorry folks, I just know the consistency I like)

  • 1 egg (from a co-workers farm!)
  • Bisquick (It’s just so good.  About 2 cups)
  • Whole Milk (yes friends, the fatty milk.  About 1 cup)
  • Shredded, Sweetened Coconut (A cup or so)

Mix wet ingredients, then add bisquick & coconut.  I go for a melting milk shake consistency (couldn’t think of a better comparison…) But do what you like.  Less milk for thicker, more for thinner.  Make sure your griddle is extra extra hot!  I spray with Pam and wait until they’re golden brown and flip.  When do you flip?  When the bubbles have popped!

Whipped Cream (again…no exact measuring)

  • Heavy whipping cream (Make sure it says heavy.  1 cup or so)
  • Powdered Sugar (1/4 cup or so depending on desired sweetness)

Blend heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer on medium-high for a minute or so. Gradually add sugar as you mix.  Beat until you reach desired consistency (I like mine thick like butta!)  For extra flavor and sweetness add about capful of Vanilla Extract.  I didn’t want this batch super sweet so I left it out.

Candied Pecans

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and add pecans.  Let glaze until it thickens and pecans are coated with a thick glaze – around 3 minutes or so.  Spread out on a baking tray and pop in the oven until they’re as crispy as you like.  I left mine in for 10 minutes or so, then shut off the oven and left them in the residual heat.

Toasted Coconut

So easy!  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss some shredded sweetened coconut on a baking dish in a thin layer and put in oven.  I stirred mine every 5 minutes or so, and it took around 15 minutes to get golden brown.

Assembly

  1. Pancakes
  2. Butter (of course)
  3. Heaping spoonful of whipped cream
  4. Sprinkle of toasted coconut and pecans
  5. Drizzle with syrup (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Maple Agave Syrup)

Mimosas (Because it’s not brunch without them)

  • 1/2 cup Viansa Champagne
  • 1/2 cup Organge juice

Buon Appetito!

Occidental & Healdsburg

Saturday called for early afternoon rain – so I figured I could get a quick bite and some wine tasting in before it came!  California thinks it’s spring – so the hills are luscious green are flowing with mustard flowers!  Such a beautiful day!

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Here’s what I did:

Travel time: 3.5 hours total

Locations:  Breakfast in Occidental and Wine Tasting in Healdsburg

Cost:  Irish Eggs Benedict, Coffee & Chai Tea Latte – $25 including tip.  Private tasting (fee waived) and 2 bottles of wine – $64.

Breakfast was delicious!  I stumbled upon Howard’s Station Cafe this past President’s Day when I was exploring on my own, and I had to bring my Beau back!  The first time around I had the Original Eggs Benedict with a side of fruit and a Chai Tea Latte.  YUM!  The second time we had the Irish Eggs Benedict with a side of potatoes.  We had a snack on the drive up (1.5 hour) so we split the dish – which was perfect.  Out server was great, and all the staff helped each other out.  Good experience x 2!

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Alex enjoying MY Chai Tea Latte!

Wine Tasting was delectable!  We go wine tasting quite frequently – and I always try to find new spots.  To be honest – I mostly look for spots with great reviews and great views!  I stumbled upon Acorn Winery in doing a random yelp search – and boy am I glad I stopped in!  Their license requires patrons to make an appointment – which was fine by me.  Betsy – owner and darling lady, was wonderful!  We were the only ones in their small tasting room, and had the most intimate tasting.  We learned so much – and for the first time ever, I enjoyed all of the wine.  They do not mass produce, and they’ve definitely poured their heard into their “second career”.  I purchased Cabernet Franc and my beau got their Dolcetto.  Yum!

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As always, we had a great time!

God is good friends, God is good.

Mangia! Mangia!

Eat Eat!

I am constantly, and I mean constantly, thinking about food.  As I’m eating breakfast, I’m planning lunch.  As I’m eating lunch, I’m figuring out what’s for dinner.

Mi piace il cibo.  I love food.

I was blessed to be raised with parents who cook extremely well.  My mom made all sorts of random delicious dishes, and the most heavenly chocolate mousse cake…  My dad, being 100% Italian, somehow perfected every Italian dish he made.  Pasta, sauces – or as we Italians call it, gravy, and baked goodies that would make you cry.  I learned to appreciate food at a very young age, and my love for food grows daily.

Yesterday I made the rookie mistake of going to the grocery store hungry.  I went for 1/2 and 1/2 and salads, and $50 later I had a basket full of meats, cheeses, veggies, you name it.  I went home, and got to work.  There’s something so invigorating about having a pile of random ingredients, and turning it into something beautiful.

Here’s what I had:

Sliced Meats:  Salami, Prosciutto, Capicola
Cheese (not pictured):  Parmesan, Mozzarella, Brie
Pesto:  Blend a big handful of basil, lots of olive oil, Parmesan, salt & pepper, walnuts and garlic.  Takes no time at all and is so delicious!
Tomato & Onion Salad: Sliced a variety of small heirloom tomatoes, half a red onion, a dash of salt and pepper, dried oregano, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and red wine vinegar.  The longer it sits, the more the flavors merry.  So, so good.
Orzo:  Mixed with sauteed mushrooms, salt & pepper and lots of Parmesan cheese.  I did this as a base so I can add various ingredients through the week.

Gifts from the Garden

I have wanted to garden for years now, and I finally have a darling little yard to garden in!
Currently I am growing: Mint, Basil, Parsley, Chives, Rosemary, Arugula, Mixed Lettuce, Beans, Heirloom Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Poblano Peppers and Zucchini.
I went to dinner at a friends the other night and asked what I could bring.  As usual, she said “nothing” but I hate to show up empty handed. She enjoys cooking, so I decided to grab a few goodies from garden to bring as a little gift 🙂
It has really been neat to watch my garden grow, and I’m really happy I get to share my goodies!
God is good friends.  God is good.