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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Russian River Wine Tasting

Another post about my jaunts in wine country…

Today was absolutely lovely!  We only tasted at 2 spots – but they both were wonderful!

Stop #1: Korbel Champagne Cellers

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$9 for a bottle of delicious Champagne!  I bought the Brut Rose.  YUM!

FREE Champagne tasting!  Everything I had was delicious, and the place is beautiful.  They also have a little market to buy snacks from to picnic.  Bottles of Champagne average around $14!  Can’t beat it.  Also, for my fellow military folks, they generously offer 25% off purchased.

Stop #2: Lunch at Russian River Pub 

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As seen on Diners, Drive ins & Dives.  Feeling a little perked from Korbel, we wanted something hearty and delicious.  We had reservations elsewhere, but decided to give this one a go, and we’re super glad we did!

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And the best spot yet…..♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Stop #3: Russian River Vineyards

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Don’t take this lightly… you MUST go here.  This place, and the staff, has left me with feelings of packing up life and moving to Forestville.  It’s tranquil, quaint, delicious, darling… it’s everything you want.  The grounds are gorgeous, the wine is decadent and they have a delicious looking menu (we were too full to eat!).  They too are generous to us military folks by offering complimentary tasting and 10% off purchases.  A must go.

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’twas a beautiful day and a beautiful drive.  So blessed to live this close to paradise!  God is good friends, God is good.

Murphys, CA (you simply MUST go!)

Oh how I love Murphys.   It tis the quaintest little town, full of darling shops, wineries, and delicious restaurants.  It’s super cozy, and you’ll fall in love upon arrival!

On President’s Day weekend they do a “Wine Weekend” where you pay $20 for a glass and get to taste in almost all of the store front wineries (there’s a lot!).  I’ve been the last two years, and have happened upon beautiful weekends!  The drive up from the Bay Area is gorgeous, and only takes 2/5 hours.

My mood for the weekend 🙂 The sun is shining, the wine is flowing, it’s a great day.IMG_2263Make sure to grab a coffee and pastry (their savory scones are to die for!) from Aria Bakery & Espresso Cafe and take a 2 min stroll to the creek!  

If you’re hungry for a bigger breakfast, swing by the Murphy’s Hotel.  Great portions and good prices.  Grab a seat on the patio if you can!IMG_2276

History buff?  The town is full of historic buildings, and there’s a cool museum too!

Lavender Heaven!  Yes, Lavender Ridge is a winery (wine is ok…) their shop is absolutely darling, and they have everything lavender  you could possibly want!  As well a cheese pairings.  A must go.

Need a sweet treat?  Or two?  Swing by Lila & Sage’s Cupcake store and drool over the delicious cakes, AND hop on over to the Peppermint Stick for a decadent shake!

For dinner we hit the new Luck Penny Public House, and boy o boy were my fish & chips delicious. They also have live music!  Super cute joint.

Each building in Murphys is darling!  Such old charm mixed with shabby chic.

I hope you’ll trust me when I say GO TO MURPHYS!  You won’t regret it.

God is good friends, God is good.

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 🙂

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!