January, 2015

  1. garlicky zucchini noodles with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella

    January 31, 2015 by Angie

    For dinner Friday night I tried a slightly altered version of a new-to-me recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Kalyn’s Kitchen. She calls it Garlicky Zucchini Noodles with Tomatoes and Burrata. It was extraordinary. We enjoyed it with a California Pinot Noir. It made for a wonderful Friday night at home.

    Garlicky Zucchini Noodles with Fresh Mozzarella

    Makes 2 servings.

    Ingredients

    olive oil
    5 medium zucchini
    2 tbsp minced garlic
    1.5 cups cherry tomatoes
    1/4 tsp dried basil
    1/4 tsp dried oregano
    1/4 tsp dried thyme
    1/4 tsp dried sage
    fresh basil
    3 balls of fresh Mozzarella

    Directions

    1. Wash the zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. Cut the ends off of the zucchini. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the fresh basil into ribbons.

    2. Mix the dried spices together in a bowl.

    3. Make the zucchini noodles by using a vegetable peeler to slice wide but thin slices of zucchini all around each of the zucchini. When you get to the seeds, discard the rest and move to the next one. I piled these on a plate as I worked.

    4. Spray a deep pan with olive oil and heat on medium. Add the halved tomatoes and minced garlic. After cooking for about three minutes, add the mixed spices and stir. Cook for another three minutes.

    5. Add the zucchini noodles. Stir and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally until the zucchini is heated through and the tomatoes start to create a sauce.

    6. Add the fresh basil.

    7. Serve the zucchini and tomato mixture. Cut the fresh Mozzarella balls into eight pieces. Top each serving with half of the Mozzarella pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste.


  2. cheesy artichoke dip

    January 31, 2015 by Angie

    I made this hot artichoke cheese dip from the Cooking Light website for my job’s dip eating/tailgate party on Friday. The first time I made it was as a Thanksgiving appetizer last year. Robbie and my parents and I think it’s awesome. Everyone at the tailgate party really liked it too. You should make it tomorrow and feed it to people while they watch football because it’s cheesy and delicious and not difficult to make.

    Tailgate star: cheesy artichoke dip

    I followed this recipe from Cooking Light with a couple of changes. This time I used about half of a small yellow onion instead of a green onion, Vegenaise instead of reduced fat mayonnaise, and skipped the lemon. I served it with a baguette at Thanksgiving, which I highly recommend, and with cracked pepper lentil chips at the tailgate party, also delicious.

    cheesy artichoke dip

    Eat cheesy artichoke dip and go team!


  3. California Wine Country

    January 18, 2015 by Angie

    I’m finally blogging the second half of our California trip. These photos are from Sonoma, Napa, and Santa Rosa.

    We were very impressed with our hotel, Inn at Sonoma, near the Sonoma square. We were a short walking distance to everything in town. Our room was beautiful with our own balcony. The complimentary wine and cheese hour and breakfasts were very good. We would definitely stay there again.

    Inn at Sonoma

    Our room at Inn at Sonoma.

    balcony at Inn at Sonoma

     Our private balcony.

    Rooftop hot tub at Inn at Sonoma

    Awesome rooftop jacuzzi.

    free wine and cheese hour

    Robbie enjoying a Sonoma red at the complimentary, nightly wine and cheese tasting.

    Hop Monk

    After checking in and enjoying the wine and cheese hour at Inn at Sonoma, we walked across the street to HopMonk for drinks. I had an awesome champagne drink. Robbie had a HopMonk IPA and did not like it at all. Sorry, HopMonk. I thought the outside seating area was really pretty.

    On our first full day in California Wine Country, we enjoyed the yummy and complimentary breakfast at our hotel, picked up a soy latte at Peet’s across the street, and drove to our first winery, Lancaster Estate in Healdsburg. The grounds are beautiful. We saw our first hummingbird ever while waiting outside for our guided tour to begin!

    Robbie at Lancaster Estate Winery

    Cheers to the hummingbird.

    Angie at Lancaster Estate Winery

    Angie and the grounds.

    Lancaster Estate Winery

    The vineyard.

    Home at Lancaster Estate Winery

    The estate. I wouldn’t mind living there.

    We got to tour two wine caves while were in California. The Lancaster Estate wine cave is so fancy, like the Bat Cave but with more wine.

    Inside the cave

    A tasting area inside the cave. This room reminds me of the Authority’s underground complex in True Blood.

    barrels in the cave

    barrels

    Many, many barrels of wine inside the cave.

    logo closeup

    A closeup of barrel. These are made specially for Lancaster Estate.

    egg

    This is a giant cement egg they use in the wine-making process.

    inside of a barrel

    Here is a look at what is going on inside the barrel as the wine is being made.

    cool lights

    Our tour guide and the very impressive design details inside the cave. A little A Game of Thrones-y.

    wine and cheese tasting in the cave

     This is where we sat for our wine and cheese tasting with another couple and our tour guide.

    Robgeleen drinking wine in a cave

    Robgeleen IN A CAVE.

    Because we love pinot noir so much, our tour guide at Lancaster Estate recommended that we stop by the Roth Estate Winery just down the road to try their award-winning pinot noir.

    Roth Estate Winery

    Roth Estate grounds.

    Best favorite Pinot Noir at Roth

    THE pinot noir.

    It was so good! We bought a bottle to drink back at home. This was a much more laid-back experience. The tasting room is pretty but relaxed with board games for people to play while they enjoy their wine. We each had a glass of the pinot noir then headed on to Napa County.

    Our friend said her favorite winery from her visit to Wine Country was Sequoia Grove in Napa so we drove out to see it. The grounds are so beautiful but different from the other vineyards we visited. This one has tons of Sequoia trees so it has more of a forest feeling to it. I agree with our friend – you don’t want to miss this one. The wine is very good, the staff are all nice and knowledgeable, and I loved being back in a redwood forest.

    Outside Sequoia Grove

    A seating area outside.

    Robbie inside Sequoia Grove

    Robbie inside talking with the very helpful staff.

    Angie hugging a redwood tree at Sequoia Groves

    I love these trees so much I had to hug one.

    fountain at Sequoia Grove

    It doesn’t get much more scenic than this.

    grapes on the vine

     A closeup of their grapes on the vine.

    After Sequoia Grove, we drove back to our hotel and walked over to the Red Grape for more wine and delicious pizza. Regrettably, I didn’t get a photo of the pizza but here is Robbie in their lovely outdoor area.

    Robbie at The Red Grape

    Robbie at The Red Grape.

    On our last day before heading back to San Francisco we woke up crazy early again. The hotel wasn’t serving breakfast yet and we had been starving for a couple of hours already so we walked over to the Basque Boulangerie Cafe. We got a giant baguette, a soy latte for me (a trend?), and a green tea for Robbie. The bread was so fresh and good that we started eating it as we walked back to our hotel.

    mmm, bread

     Mouth full of bread.

    We had reservations for an early tram wine tour and tasting at Benziger Family Winery so we checked out of our awesome hotel and started our drive out to Glen Ellen. This winery is biodynamic, meaning they use only natural farming methods. We learned a lot from the tour. It was interesting to learn about the process and how they manage everything without chemicals. They have the second cave we visited, which was cool, but not nearly as fancy as the Lancaster Estate cave. The grounds are breathtakingly beautiful. Gotta admit though, neither of us cared much for their wines.

    Benziger grounds

    Woah.

    tour guide

    Our tour guide pouring a tasting for us at the top of the hill in the vineyard.

    Benziger vineyard

     The vineyard.

    Benziger cave

     Barrels inside the cave.

    Robgeleen kiss in a vineyard

    Robgeleen selfie with the pretty vineyard.

    After our tour, we drove out to Russian River Brewing, a.k.a. Robbie’s heaven on Earth, in Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa is a precious little city. Anybody want to give us jobs there?

    Robbie & Pliny sitting in a tree

     The big moment! Robbie drinking the best IPA in the world, Pliny the Elder, on tap at Russian River Brewing. He’s so happy!

    really good pizza

    Their pizza was fantastic. Some of the best pizza we’ve had, and we’ve had a lot of pizza. I wish we could go to Russian River Brewing all the time  🙁

    We then drove back over the Golden Gate Bridge (which is pretty scary really – there’s nothing in between your lane and the lane going the opposite direction) for our last night in San Francisco and the last night of our trip.

    It was a successful trip. We saw redwoods and the Golden Gate Bridge, ate lots of delicious food, drank lots of delicious wine, had Pliny the Elder on tap – all goals accomplished! If only California were a lot closer…

    See the blog post on the San Francisco part of our trip here.